Monday, November 7, 2011

Oklahoma Earthquakes

Photo is the work of Sue Ogrocki, AP

Oklahoma is a state in which inhabitants are usually well acquainted with preparedness and preparedness issues. Annual tornadoes can be so severe there that many of us, when looking for a lovely rural low population density area in which to raise our children, simply pass due to the summer tornadoes. Still there is much to recommend it. It is not known for an abundance of earthquakes. In truth, very small tremors have occured in Oklahoma all along. According to the US Geological Survey, 1047 earthquakes occured in Oklahoma in 2010, most of which were not even large enough to be felt by human beings. This was not the case this week, when on November 5, a smattering of lower intensity earthquakes were felt there. The initial quakes were about 2.7-3.4 . These were disconcerting enough, until later that night a 5.6 occurred in Central Oklahoma. It turned out that the cluster of earlier earthquakes had been pre-shocks leading up to a more serious event. This concept is important, because sometimes clusters of earthquakes do lead up to a more severe event. Perhaps we should use lesser earthquakes to take a last minute glance at our homes and rectify anything which should be adjusted in anticipation of a more severe quake. The 5.6 quake in Oklahoma, buckled a highway, did damage to brick facing, homes and kitchens, and did pretty serious damage to Benedictine Hall, in Gregory University. The damage in Oklahoma has not yet fully been assessed and numerous aftershocks are continuing. Ten of these aftershocks have exceeded 3.0 . It is conceivable that, these aftershocks, just as they did in Louisa County, Virginia, will also cause cumulative damage to roads, schools and homes.

UPDATE:  On Monday evening, an aftershock of 4.7 occurred, damaging additional homes in Central Oklahoma. Residents there have been told to expect aftershocks for weeks to months.

Photo AP/ Sue Ogrocki

These are pictures of earthquake damage to Benedictine Hall, at St. Gregory's College in Shawnee, Oklahoma which occurred following the 5.6 earthquake this week.
Photo AP/Sue Ogrocki

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