November 5, 2011 – An Earthquake Struck Central Oklahoma Early This Morning and Rocked Five States: An earthquake struck early Saturday, in central Oklahoma, knocking pictures off walls and waking people and pets as it shook an area that stretched into Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri and Texas. The 4.7 magnitude earthquake struck at 2:12 a.m., with an epicenter about six miles north of Prague in Lincoln County. That’s 46 miles east of Oklahoma City and 75 miles southwest of Tulsa. A 3.4 magnitude aftershock was reported at 2:27 a.m. from the same location, as well as a 2.7 magnitude aftershock at 2:44 a.m. Small aftershocks continue to strike the region, even now.
The tremor occurred 41 miles west of Okmulgee, Oklahoma; 42 miles SSE of Stillwater, OK; and 46 miles east of Oklahoma City, OK (see map). The tremor struck at 3:21AM in New York, 2:12AM in Chicago (and at the epicenter), 1:12AM in Denver and 12:12AM in Los Angeles.
“Oh, man, I’ve never felt anything like that in my life;” Prague City Police Department dispatcher Claudie Morton told the Tulsa World Newspaper. “It was the scariest thing. I had a police officer just come in and sit down and all the sudden the walls started shaking and the windows were rattling. It felt like the roof was going to come off the police department,” Morton said. The office was flooded with calls, but no one reported injuries or major damage. She said residents told her that picture frames and mirrors fell from walls and broke, drawers worked loose from dressers and objects tumbled out of cabinets. “We do have several damaged buildings downtown, but it’s just cracks and things like that,” Morton said. “Nothing is destroyed, or anything like that,” she continued.
Oklahoma Geological Survey researcher Austin Holland told Oklahoma City television station KOTV that the earthquake and aftershocks occurred on a known fault line. “Residents in Prague and Sparks felt an intense shaking, while farther away, the quake was more of a dull rumble,” he stated.” It shakes much more rapidly when you’re closer to it,” he said. “Because it’s a large earthquake for this region, it’s going to rumble for a while,” Holland said. His office received hundreds of emails from people who felt the quake. The messages came from as far as Texas, Missouri and Arkansas. Tom Foster of Oklahoma City told The Oklahoman Newspaper that he slept through the earthquake but was awakened by an aftershock. “I know we’ve already had several phone calls from out of state relatives wondering what happened,” Foster said. “I guess it’s more interesting than anything that was dangerous,” he continued.
Heather Spicer of, Sapulpa, OK; said the shaking woke her son and their dog. “At first I thought an airplane had crashed nearby,” she told The Oklahoman. “But now I believe it was an earthquake because the whole house just kept vibrating with what sounded like distant thunder outside.”
Because most of the United States east of the Mississippi River is bedrock, while the western U.S. is more “mushy” and broken up; an earthquake is felt over a much larger area in the eastern U.S. than the west. An earthquake, of equivalent magnitude, is felt over about ten times as much area in the eastern U.S. as the west.
The Master of Disaster