MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

April 21, 2013

Earthquakes become nuisance


Associated Press

— OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — More annoying than threatening, tiny tremors are shaking portions of central Oklahoma with increasing frequency — rattling homes, knocking things over and interrupting sleep.

“I feel them every time,” said Felicia Bennett of Luther. One day last week, “I felt three. It woke me up. The house shaking. Sometimes I hear it popping. Occasionally something will fall. Not often.”

No fewer than 16 small earthquakes were recorded in and around Arcadia and Luther during the past week, including 10 on Tuesday alone, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. The quakes ranged from magnitude 2.8 to 4.3.

“This is something new,” Luther Mayor Cecelia Taft said. “We never had anything. Now all of a sudden, it’s just hitting us.”

More than a year ago, a series of quakes were centered near Sparks, east of Luther. A magnitude 5.6 temblor on Nov. 5, 2011, was the strongest one ever recorded in the state and was preceded by a 4.7 magnitude foreshock and aftershocks of 4.0. The stronger quake was felt in 14 states.

In the northeastern Oklahoma County swarm, the quakes are strong enough to be felt but light enough to avoid causing damage.

“Just small shakes. Here at the store, just little tremors,” said Steve Shaw, who operates a hardware store at Luther. His customers have reported pictures shaking on their walls and things being thrown off tables by the small quakes, but none has bought materials to repair damaged roofs or floors.