A huge earthquake shook structures across Oklahoma this morning just after 7 a.m. About 25 minutes later, the U.S. Geological Survey announced it registered 5.6 on the richter scale.

The USGS said the quake occurred about 8.6 miles northwest of Pawnee, a 2,100-person community in Pawnee County.

Immediate Facebook post reports indicated pictures fell off walls as far away as Tulsa. Others felt it in Norman and Wewoka in Seminole County. It lasted roughly 15 seconds.

One journalist told NonDoc he had heard from people in both Texas and Missouri who felt the earthquake.

Hours earlier, magnitude 3.2 and 3.1 earthquakes had been recorded in Oklahoma as well.

The 3.2 magnitude quake occurred around 8:45 p.m. Friday about 30 miles northeast of Enid near the community of Medford, according U.S. Geological Survey data.

Less than an hour later, a 3.1 magnitude quake followed near Luther in northern Oklahoma County.

The independent earthquake monitoring organization CSEM-EMSC reported feedback from their app users across the region.

Largest earthquake in Oklahoma since 2011

According to a search on the USGS site, Saturday morning’s earthquake is the largest in Oklahoma since a 5.6 magnitude quake near Prague.

That quake was followed by 10 aftershocks, according to the Associated Press:

The magnitude 5.6 earthquake and its aftershocks still had residents rattled Sunday. No injuries were reported, and aside from a buckled highway and the collapse of a tower on the St. Gregory’s University administration building, neither was any major damage. But the weekend earthquakes were among the strongest yet in a state that has seen a dramatic, unexplained increase in seismic activity.

Earthquakes becoming a political issue

Owing to Oklahoma’s dramatic rise in earthquakes and a now-undisputed link between the seismic events and oil-and-gas disposal wells, the issue has gained political prominence that it didn’t have in 2011.

Environmental advocate Erin Brockovich attended an Edmond earthquake forum in February, and the documentary Oklahoma Shakedown received national attention.

The issue was also front and center in Rep. Richard Morrissette (D-OKC) initially filing to run for a seat on the Oklahoma Corporation Commissioner, but the term-limited legislator ultimately opted not to stay on the ballot.

Also in February, NonDoc’s Sundaze cartoonist Mike Allen poked fun at how Oklahomans have had to adapt to yet another type of natural disaster.

Sundaze cartoonist Mike Allen summed up Oklahomans’ modern coping with earthquakes in February. (Mike Allen)
William W. Savage III (Tres) has served as the editor in chief of NonDoc since the publication launched in September 2015. He holds a journalism degree from the University of Oklahoma and covered two sessions of the Oklahoma Legislature for before working in health care for six years. He is a nationally certified Mental Health First Aid instructor.