EARTHQUAKE HISTORY IN OKLAHOMA
(and a look at some earthquakes in Oklahoma in 2010 prior to Wednesday)
The great earthquakes in the New Madrid, Mo., region in 1811-1812, and a strong earthquake centered in
Arkansas on Oct. 22, 1881, likely were felt in the area that is now Oklahoma.
The first recorded earthquake known to have been centered in the state occurred on Dec. 2, 1897, in Grant
In September 1918, a series of shocks in El Reno produced only minor effects.
On Dec. 27, 1929, another quake was felt in portions of central and western Oklahoma. Some plaster cracked and
at least one chimney fell in El Reno. Clocks stopped, objects moved and some reports indicated walls and
floors swayed. People rushed from their homes in alarm.
A magnitude-5.5 earthquake on April 9, 1952, was centered near El Reno and affected most of Oklahoma and parts
of Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska and Texas. Damage from the 10:30 a.m. earthquake was not
extensive, but many people near the epicenter were alarmed. Portions of chimneys fell in El Reno and Ponca
City. Bricks loosened from a building wall and tile facing of commercial buildings bulged in Oklahoma City.
Plate glass windows were shattered in the business district of El Reno. Aftershocks were felt on April 11, 15,
and 16, July 16 and Aug. 14. Homes and buildings shook and people were awakened in El Reno in the April 16
aftershock, at five minutes after midnight. People reported feeling the earthquake in Kingfisher, Oklahoma
City, Tulsa and Union City.
A quake was felt in Holdenville and Wewoka on Oct. 7, 1952.
Minor damage to a building foundation and plaster in Concho resulted from two March 17, 1953, earthquakes
about an hour apart. People felt the earthquake in Calumet, Edmond, El Reno, Minco, Okarche, Piedmont and
Southeastern Oklahoma was disturbed by a noisy earthquake on April 2, 1956. Buildings shook and objects fell
in Antlers, and people were alarmed. Minor effects were reported from nearby towns.
On Oct. 30, 1956, a large area in northeastern Oklahoma was shaken. West of Catoosa the movement caused an oil
well to be shut down. Minor damage occurred in Beggs and Tulsa.
A broad area of southwestern Oklahoma and the adjacent portion of Texas felt an early morning shock on June
17, 1959. Slight damage, consisting of cracks in plaster, pavement, and a house foundation, occurred in Cache,
Duncan and Lawton. A smaller earthquake on June 15 was felt by many in Ada and nearby. Dishes were reported
broken and a trembling motion was observed.
On Jan. 10, 1961, a mild shock was felt in Latimer and Pittsburg counties in southeastern Oklahoma. Thunderous
earth sounds were heard in many places, but no damage was reported. Another noisy earthquake on April 27,
1961, awoke many in Antlers, Coalgate, Hartshorne, Leflore, McCurtain, Panola, Poteau, Talihina and Wilburton.
An Oct. 14, 1968, earthquake caused cracked walls and broke glass in two structures in Durant. The news media
reported that a 5-foot-tall advertising stand fell over, and canned goods fell from a rack in a supermarket.
Slight foreshocks were felt in Durant on Oct. 10 and 11. Effects from the Oct. 14 event were noted in Caddo.
A magnitude-4.6 earthquake caused cracked plaster in Wewoka on May 2, 1969. Effects were reported in several
other towns in the region.
Following are some of the earthquakes in Oklahoma in 2010 prior to Wednesday:
On January 15 a magnitude-4 earthquake occurred at 9:18 a.m. with an epicenter three miles northeast of
Jones. A second earthquake, a magnitude-3.8 one, was recorded at 9:27 a.m. with an epicenter one mile
northeast of Jones.
A 3.7-magnitude quake occurred in eastern Oklahoma County near Jones about 1:15 a.m. Jan. 24. Its
epicenter was about six miles below the surface, which is about three miles deeper than most of the dozens of
quakes that have hit the area in the last year.
A 2.5-magnitude earthquake hit near Jones on Feb. 1. The earthquake was reported three miles southeast
of Jones and five miles northeast of Choctaw about 5:45 p.m.
A 3.2 magnitude earthquake occurred southeast of Luther in eastern Oklahoma County about 11:30 p.m. Feb. 12.The epicenter was about 6 miles southeast of Luther and 3 miles beneath the surface.
Two earthquakes were recorded Feb. 26 in Lincoln County. A magnitude-2.9 quake was reported at 10:12
a.m. 2 miles southeast of Wellston in Lincoln County. The quake was about three miles below the surface. A
magnitude- 2.5 quake was recorded at 8:35 a.m. five miles southwest of Chandler.
The earthquake felt across wide swaths of Oklahoma on Feb. 27 was a magnitude 4.1. The quake struck near
Sparks along the Turner Turnpike northeast of Oklahoma City, but state residents reported feeling the quake as
far south as Norman and as far north as Tulsa.
Western Canadian County was struck by 10 earthquakes March 11 with several of them being felt in Minco
and Niles.The area was near the Caddo and Grady county lines, according to Oklahoma Geological Survey
officials. The strongest of the group registered a magnitude 3.4. That quake’s epicenter was 10 miles
west-southwest of El Reno and happened just before 6 p.m. Of the other nine quakes, six were clustered about
11 miles south-southwest of El Reno.They occurred from 8:10 a.m. to 1:15 p.m.
A 3.1-magnitude earthquake struck southwest of El Reno in Canadian County March 13.
The earthquake, which occurred about 3 a.m., was 12 miles southwest of El Reno and about 3 miles beneath the
The epicenter of the 2.4-magnitude quake on March 19 was about three miles east of Forest Park and six miles northeast of Oklahoma City.
A 3.7-magnitude earthquake struck near Prague in Lincoln County on March 21.The earthquake, which occurred about 8:35 p.m., was recorded 5 miles northwest of Prague. Reports came from some residents in Prague as well as Meeker, Sparks, Shawnee and as far away as Tulsa and Claremore.
A magnitude 3.0 earthquake occurred about 11:05 p.m. April 11 about six miles southeast of Luther in
Earthquakes were recorded April 14-15. The first quake was magnitude 3.0 and struck
about six miles north of Tupelo, and the second was magnitude 3.2 and hit about six miles southeast of Allen.
A magnitude-3.1 earthquake was recorded May 7 four miles southeast of Jones. The quake occurred at 7:44
The U.S. Geological Survey said two earthquakes were detected five minutes apart beginning about 7:41 p.m.
June 30 near Ratliff City. Both had a magnitude of 2.5. A third was about 12:52 p.m. July 1, 2010 near
Harrah. That quake had a magnitude of 2.6.
Six small earthquakes were recorded in the Luther and Jones areas on Aug. 31 and Sept. 1. The quakes hit
a magnitude 3.1 on Aug. 31.
A small earthquake struck Sept. 4 near Luther, but there were no reports of damage. The 3.1 magnitude
earthquake occurred about 10:20 a.m. The quake was
centered about four miles south of Luther and about six miles east-northeast of Jones.
An earthquake with a 4.0 magnitude was recorded Sept. 19. The earthquake was recorded about 4 miles southwest of Luther, according to the survey. It hit about 5 p.m. and could be felt in Luther, Jones, Oklahoma City, Arcadia, Harrah, Edmond and Choctaw.
Sources: U.S. Geological Survey, Oklahoma Geological Survey, The Oklahoman archives
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