Biggest Quake in Oklahoma History Rattles Indian Country
Residents of Indian country were rattled over the weekend by at least 10 earthquakes in Oklahoma, including the largest in the state's history, a temblor early Sunday that measured 5.6 on the Richter Scale.
On the weekend that time changed from daylight savings to standard, the earth moved too, first to the tune of 4.7 on the Richter Scale at 2:12 a.m. Saturday, November 5, a quake felt from Texas to Missouri.
But that turned out to be merely the prologue, as the 5.6 temblor shook residents early Sunday, November 6. Both epicenters were about 50 miles outside Oklahoma City. The stronger one was centered in Sparks, 44 miles northeast of Oklahoma City, and was felt as far away as Tennessee and Wisconsin, the Associated Press reported.
Aftershocks continued on Sunday, with a 3.9 on November 6, according to the U.S. Geological Survey, which was still totting them up on Sunday, along with the Oklahoma Geological Survey.
Residents in and around the Cherokee Nation felt the quake, with varying effects.
“My boyfriend and I were watching the Alabama–LSU game,” said Jennifer Tomasik, who lives south of Tahlequah, right behind the Cherokee Nation. “I was sitting on the couch and he was sitting on the floor. The whole house started rocking, and I thought, Lord. I thought it was the washing machine.”
They looked at each other, she said, and “he was like, ‘Did you feel that?’ ” she said. “It lasted for maybe five, ten seconds…. It was odd. Neither one of us ever experienced anything like it.”
Soon afterward she spoke to her father, who lives about 30 miles north of her in Moody, Oklahoma, who reported that if it had gone on any longer, things would have started falling off shelves and flying off walls.
A spokesman for the Cherokee Nation told Indian Country Today Media Network that no reports of damage had come in and that celebrations for the inauguration of Bill John Baker as the 26th Principal Chief were going ahead as planned.
Before this the largest had been a 5.5 quake reported in El Reno, Oklahoma, about 30 miles west of the capital, on April 9, 1952, Paul Caruso, a geophysicist with the U.S. Geological Survey in Golden, Colorado, told The Los Angeles Times. And a 5.5-magnitude earthquake hit northeastern Indian Territory in 1882, before Oklahoma's 1907 admission to the United States, the AP reported.
Oklahoma has shown an increase in seismic activity over the past few years. It lies on a fault known as the Wilzetta Fault or the Seminole uplift, according to the Oklahoma Geological Survey. More information about Oklahoma quakes, including their history, is at the U.S. Geological Survey’s website.
The AP reported that geologists had recorded 10 aftershocks by midmorning Sunday and expected more. Two of them, one at 4 a.m. and another at 9 a.m., measured magnitude 4.0.
"We will definitely continue to see aftershocks, as we've already seen aftershocks from this one," Paul Earle, a seismologist with the U.S. Geological Survey in Golden, Colo., told ABC News. "We will see aftershocks in the days and weeks to come, possibly even months."