Oklahoma has been hit last night with the strongest earthquake recorded in the area to date. The 5.6 magnitude quake struck at 10:53 a.m. and lasted nearly a full minute.
It was centered 44 miles east-northeast of Oklahoma City. Neighboring Kansas, Missouri and Arkansas reportedly felt the tremors.
The quake follows a series of earthquakes that shook the city earlier, starting with a 4.7 magnitude earthquake which occurred early Saturday morning. Since then, there have been over ten aftershocks.
Paul Earle, a U.S. Geological Survey seismologist told AP that the aftershocks could continue for days and even months. Seismographs were only installed in the area last year after a significant increase in the number of earthquakes to hit the state. Scientists do not know why the quakes are increasing.
The quakes have been attributed, but not confirmed, to the New Madrid fault line, which has become more volatile in recent years. The New Madrid fault zone covers portions of Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, Arkansas, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Mississippi. The zone is 6 times bigger than the San Andreas fault in California.
According to the Oklahoma Geological Survey by Austin Holland which was published recently, fracking is one of the causes for earthquakes. When you inject the earth with saltwater to break up the shale beneath the earth, there is instability created in the crust which results in sudden and extreme movement. This means the earth sinks a bit where fracking has occurred.
No deaths have been reported in the Oklahoma quakes but there have been reports of several injuries.
Falling furniture and cracked walls have been reported and a 25-foot tower separated from an administration building collapsed at a university.