Earthquake in Northwest Oklahoma Felt in Multiple States; Disposal Wells Shutdown

Beverly Cantrell - January 31, 2022 7:29 pm

MEDFORD, Okla. (AP) — An earthquake centered near the northwestern Oklahoma city of Medford on Monday had a preliminary magnitude of 4.5, the U.S. Geological Survey reported.

The quake was reported shortly after 11 a.m. and was centered about 4 miles (7 kilometers) northwest of Medford, not far from the Kansas state line. There were no immediate reports of damage or injuries, said Grant County’s emergency management director, Madelline Wheeler.

People across Oklahoma, as well as in Kansas and Arkansas, reported feeling the quake.

The threshold for damage usually starts at 4.0. The strongest earthquake on record in Oklahoma was a magnitude 5.8 that was recorded near Pawnee in September 2016.

Many of the thousands of earthquakes in Oklahoma in recent years have been linked to the underground injection of wastewater from oil and natural gas extraction. State regulators have directed several producers to close or reduce volumes in some wells after recent quakes.

On Monday, the Oklahoma Corporation Commission ordered three wastewater disposal wells within six miles of the quake’s epicenter to shut down. Other disposal wells within 10 miles of the epicenter were ordered to restrict wastewater disposals to an average volume of 500 barrels a day.

 

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