At 7:44 p.m. Nov. 6, a 5.3 magnitude earthquake in Cushing, Okla, disrupted citizens across the entire state, with reports being traced all the way out to Iowa, Illinois and Texas. The majority of damage took place in downtown Cushing and classes within the Cushing School District were cancelled Monday morning to assess damage and ensure safety. Significant damage was reported to several buildings, and citizens were advised to stay away from the downtown area in case remaining debris fell from buildings. Other damages include several gas leaks, which were taken care of immediately, and cracked glass on the city hall building. Residents in the Cushing area experienced power outages from the earthquake, but the power was quickly restored only a couple hours later. Photos posted to social media show various piles of debris on the streets of the city.
Sophomore, History and English major Anna Borgert, from Edmond, Okla, lives just an hour northeast of Cushing. While her family did feel the earthquake, they experienced no damage.
Anna reflected on her experiences with past earthquakes, “Typically we feel (and hear) earthquakes a little more than people in town because we live in an underground home.” said Borgert, “We’ve had some pretty considerable structure shifts and even some cracks in our plaster, despite none of the earthquakes being closer than about 45 minutes.”
More recently, Oklahoma has been experiencing many earthquakes due to the underground disposal of wastewater from oil and gas production. Oil wells in Oklahoma are able to produce 10 to 50 barrels of water for every barrel of oil produced, which is considerably more than any other part of the United States. To get rid of wastewater used in the drilling process, workers inject it into the Arbuckle formation. Because of the overload of water being injected, underground pressures have changed, triggering earthquakes across the state. As for the future of Oklahoma, there are expected to be more earthquakes in the upcoming years while the pressure in the underground wastewater attempts to reach equilibrium.