Disposal wells to shut down after Oklahoma earthquakes

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TULSA, Okla. - Quick Facts:

  • Reports of an earthquake felt around 7:45 p.m. Sunday came in from across Green Country
  • The United States Geological Survey reported a preliminary magnitude 5.0 earthquake centered near Cushing. It was originally reported by USGS as 5.3.
  • GALLERY: Earthquake damage
  • Payne County Emergency Management officials confirm power cut off to Cushing following the earthquake. It was restored Monday
  • The Cimarron Tower Apartments in Cushing were evacuated
  • Cushing Schools closed Monday to assess damage, no structural damage found
  • One person injured with a cut to his arm.
  • RELATED: FOX23 Earthquake map
  • DOWNLOAD the FOX23 News app for updates sent to your phone.

 

Reports of an earthquake came in from across Green Country around 7:45 p.m. Sunday

The United States Geological Survey reported a preliminary magnitude 5.0 earthquake centered near Cushing. It was originally reported by USGS as 5.3.

Around 50 buildings in the area suffered significant damage. City Manager Steve Spears of Cushing says hanging debris in buildings poses the most immediate danger to residents, and those things will have to be removed before streets will be reopened and people will be able to reenter buildings.

Payne County Emergency Management officials confirm power was cut off to Cushing following the earthquake, but crews restored it Monday.

Cushing Schools closed Monday so crews could assess damage there. Though there was structural damage found, but there was some damage inside the schools, such as missing ceiling tiles and insulation showing. Maintenance crews and teachers are working to get classrooms back in order before students return Tuesday.

The Oklahoma Department of Transportation inspected 110 state highway bridge systems within a 30-mile radius from the epicenter and found no damage.

One person was injured with a cut to his arm.

Magellan Midstream Partners told FOX23 that inspectors did not find any damage .

Monday the Oklahoma Corporation Commission announced they are working on a new plan to address well operations in light of the recent earthquakes, and that it will include shutting down additional disposal wells:

"The Oil and Gas Division (OGCD) of the Oklahoma Corporation Commission (OCC) is planning to implement a new action in  response to the 4.6 (OGS) 5.0 (USGS) magnitude earthquake in the Cushing area. The plan will include both the shutting down of some Arbuckle disposal wells and the reduction in volume of others. It will cover more than 700 square miles, and will be an initial response. Other plans are being developed that will encompass larger areas.  Full details of the initial response will be announced tomorrow after final data review."

Governor Mary Fallin released the following statement about action taken by the Oklahoma Corporation Commission:

“I support the quick action taken today by the Oklahoma Corporation Commission, which regulates the oil and gas industry in our state, as it worked closely with state researchers at the Oklahoma Geological Survey to put in place mandatory reductions in activity impacting induced seismicity.  Two years ago, we established the coordinating council on seismicity. Regulators continue to target areas for additional scrutiny that are experiencing increased seismic activity, which has led to the shutting down of disposal wells or reducing the volume of disposal wells and flow pressure in known fault lines where we believe there is a correlation to earthquakes.” 

VIDEO: FOX23 SkyView Network shows shaking during earthquake

The Cimarron Tower Apartments in Cushing were evacuated after the earthquake.

The Red Cross shelter helped 15 people, including some from the Cimarron Tower Apartments, that were forced from their homes on Sunday night. They said this is the first time they've offered shelter after an earthquake. 

Emergency management and the local fire department went into the damaged buildings Monday to retrieve essential belongings, such as wallets, healthcare machinery and pets. Pets belonging to people who are staying with friends and family have been returned to them. The pets belonging to those still in the shelter are being foster cared for until the residents have a non-shelter place to stay.

Insurance Commissioner John Doke is surveying damage on Monday. 

The Oklahoma Geological Survey released a statement November 7:

"A M5.0 earthquake Occurred on the evening of 2016 November 06, about 2 miles west of Cushing, OK. This area has been an active zone of seismicity since 2015. The USGS estimates the maximum Modified Mercalli Intensity to be VI, in accord with reports of damage near the epicenter.

We derived several focal plane solutions (FPS or beachball diagrams) from each event that indicate strike-slip displacement dominated the motion along the fault.

The magnitude 5.0 earthquake has already triggered several aftershocks of magnitudes less than 3. Aftershocks are earthquakes that occur following a large earthquake, in the same general area as the earthquake, ranging from days to even a few years. The likelihood of an aftershock being larger than this earthquake is about 5%. Aftershocks have the potential to create damage, just like other earthquakes and are a normal occurrence after large earthquakes. They may be expected to continue and become less frequent with time.

If you have observed damage to your residence or workplace, please note that further damage from aftershocks is possible. In case of further seismicity, we urge the public to protect themselves from falling objects: (1) drop to the ground; (2) cover your head and neck; and (3) hold on to any sturdy cover."

 

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