Earthquake felt across Oklahoma

A rare 5.1 magnitude earthquake jolted many Oklahomans awake.
According to the U.S. Geological Survey, a 5.1 magnitude earthquake hit east of Oklahoma City. The earthquake occurred on Friday, Feb. 2, at 11:24 p.m., about 5 miles northwest of Prague, Oklahoma, home to about 2,000 people.

While many felt tremors in the Oklahoma City and Tulsa area, it was reported as far east as Arkansas and south as north Texas. According to the geological survey, the shaking was also detected in Wichita, Kansas.

TU students distinctly felt the earthquake Friday night, some being awoken from dead sleep, including myself. “Everything was shaking, my friends were terrified. It lasted longer than I expected,” reported Editor-in-Chief Shelby Hiens.

Two smaller earthquakes were reported around the same area following the initial tremors. These aftershocks were measured at magnitudes 2.6 and 3.5.

Shortly after the earthquake, The Weather Channel’s radar picked up a mass of birds that were jolted awake. Typically, weather radars pick up birds leaving their nests each morning in an organized manner, but Friday night saw a random scatter of birds across Oklahoma.

No injuries have been reported, and minimal property damage occurred. Lincoln County Deputy Emergency Management Director Charlotte Brown told the Associated Press, “Nothing significant… nothing other than lots of scared people.” The extent of the damage was mostly overturned items shaken from shelves inside homes.

As reported by the USGS, the earthquake was a shallow 1.8 miles deep, hitting close to the surface. The closer an earthquake is to the surface, the more intense the shaking can be.

Friday’s earthquake has been recorded as the fourth strongest in Oklahoma. The strongest ever recorded in Oklahoma occurred in 2016, when a 5.8 magnitude earthquake hit Pawnee, Oklahoma. A close second is the 2011 earthquake that hit Prague, Oklahoma which was rated a 5.7. Followed by a 5.5 in El Reno, Oklahoma, which hit in 1952 and created a fifty-foot-long crack in the Capitol building in Oklahoma City.

The epicenter of Friday night’s earthquake was near the exact location of the 2011 Prague earthquake. At least six earthquakes have been recorded outside of Oklahoma City since January, including two greater than magnitude 4.

In recent years, Oklahoma has seen an uptick in the number of earthquakes, most of which have been caused by human activity. Fracking, the high-pressure injection of fluids underground, causes small earthquakes and tremors. The state relies on fracking to extract oil and natural gas from the ground.

According to Matt Skinner, a spokesperson for the Oklahoma Corporation Commission, action was taken to limit wastewater injection in the area around Prague. He told the AP, “Disposal wells within 10 miles of the quake” stopped operating temporarily. Further, the corporation commission has directed oil and gas producers to close some injection wells and reduce the volumes of others due to the uptick in earthquakes.

The USGS released a statement following Friday’s earthquake, warning people that aftershocks may be widely felt. USGS reported that the “seismic hazard remains high in the area” and that citizens should secure valuables that may shake during possible strong aftershocks. They further reported that people should “practice Drop, Cover, and Hold On in the event of damaging events.”

In the event that you feel an earthquake, fill out the USGS “Did You Feel It?” survey to help researchers collect data. The DYFI survey can be found at

Post Author: Isabella Musollino