Earthquake Hits Oklahoma; Damage Reported
Multiple buildings were damaged, fire department reports.
— -- An earthquake rattled central Oklahoma tonight, reportedly damaging multiple buildings in Cushing, about 50 miles northeast of Oklahoma City, and was felt as far away as Arkansas, Kansas and Missouri.
According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the quake hit at 7:44 p.m. The USGS initially measured the quake at 5.3 magnitude, but later revised the measure to 5.0.
Cushing city officials said a few people come to the Emergency Medical Services center for treatment of minor wounds. At least four structures sustained damage in the downtown area, including Cushing City Hall.
Cushing, a town of about 7,900, is home to the Cushing Tank Farm, a massive oil storage facility that's touted as the world's largest.
According to USGS data, there have been 19 earthquakes in Oklahoma in the past week, including a 4.5 magnitude earthquake struck the northern part of Oklahoma last week, with an epicenter near Pawnee.
There has been a spike in powerful earthquakes throughout the Midwest in recent years, which scientists say is linked to fracking.
The USGS recorded 1,010 earthquakes of a magnitude 3.0 or greater in the region last year, nearly three times as many as the 318 temblors of this magnitude in 2009. Oklahoma alone felt 619 quakes of a magnitude 2.8 or larger from January through June of this year.
The increase of high-magnitude earthquakes in the region has been tied to the surge in oil and gas operators' use of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, in which water, sand and chemicals are injected at high pressures into the earth to release oil and gas trapped inside the rock.
Hospitals and hotels are up and running in Cushing, city officials said, while the Oklahoma Department of Transportation confirmed that they are checking bridges in response to the quake. Cushing schools will be closed tomorrow. A full damage assessment will come in morning.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.