Magnitude 5.0 quake strikes near Cushing,
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[November 07, 2016]
OKLAHOMA CITY (Reuters) - An
earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 5.0 struck near Cushing,
Oklahoma, on Sunday damaging several buildings and prompting
evacuations, but there were no reports of injuries, authorities said.
The quake was centered 2 miles (3.2 km) west of Cushing, a small city of
about 8,000 people some 50 miles west of Tulsa, which is the location of
intersecting oil pipelines and is considered a hub for crude oil
The oil and gas division of the Oklahoma Corporation commission said in
a statement that they are in contact with pipeline operators, but so far
there were no immediate reports of damage to pipelines.
Cushing authorities said the downtown area was being evacuated due to
gas leaks and infrastructure inspection.
The quake was among the larger temblors felt recently in Oklahoma, part
of a flurry of seismic activity geologists say is linked to energy
production and is fueling growing concern.
People posting on Twitter, including some as far away as Kansas City,
Missouri, reported that they felt the shaking.
Pictures on Twitter showed broken concrete that apparently fell from
buildings in downtown Cushing and products littering the aisles of
stores after being shaken from shelves.
Cushing High School canceled classes on Monday in order to assess
damage, according to a message on its Facebook page.
Two smaller earthquakes, one at a 3.1 magnitude and the other at a 3.6
magnitude, rattled the area around Perry, Oklahoma, earlier on Sunday.
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About two months ago a magnitude 5.6 quake, one of the strongest
ever recorded in Oklahoma, shook the area.
Most earthquakes occur naturally, but scientists have long linked
some smaller tremors to oil and gas work underground, which can
alter pressure points and cause shifts in the earth.
In a report released last year, the Oklahoma Geological Survey said
that the earthquakes were linked to the practice of injecting
wastewater from oil production into the ground.
Some of that is related to hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, which
involves injecting water, sand and chemicals at high pressure into
rock to extract natural gas or other products. But the report said
fracking is responsible for only a small percentage of the
wastewater injected into wells in Oklahoma.
(Reporting by Heide Brandes in Oklahoma City, Peter Cooney in
Washington, Sharon Bernstein in Sacramento, Calif. and Chris Michaud
in New York; Editing by Chris Reese and Michael Perry)
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