Earth Quakes

Earthquakes rumble central Oklahoma but no reports of damage

The U.S. Geological Survey says several earthquakes struck central Oklahoma Friday morning, including one with a preliminary magnitude of 4.2.

State and local emergency management officials said there have been no reports of injury or damage as a result of any of the temblors.

The USGS said the quake hit shortly before 9 a.m. near Stroud, about 55 miles (88 kilometers) northeast of Oklahoma City and was felt in western Arkansas and Wichita, Kansas.

It was followed within about 75 minutes by five more earthquakes of preliminary magnitudes ranging from 2.7 to 3.8.

The quakes struck within about 10 miles (16 kilometers) of a privately run prison, the Cimarron Correctional Facility. A woman who answered the phone at the prison declined to comment and a spokesman for the parent company, Nashville, Tennessee-based CoreCivic, did not immediately return a phone call for comment.

Scientists have linked some oil and gas production in Oklahoma to an uptick in earthquakes, but the frequency of such earthquakes in Oklahoma had dropped recently as the state imposed new restrictions on the injection of wastewater into underground disposal wells.

The Oklahoma Corporation Commission's induced seismicity department is working with the Oklahoma Geological Survey to investigate the quakes, according to commission spokesman Matt Skinner. But the agency has not issued a directive to shut down any disposal wells in the area, which is part of what is known as the Arbuckle formation.

"Everything is still in the initial stages right now," Skinner said, "but that (shuttering some wells) is a distinct possibility."

Skinner said there are eight disposal wells within 10 miles (16 kilometers) of the preliminary location of the temblors and that the Oklahoma Geological Survey will determine the precise epicenters of the quakes.