Historic Oklahoma quake

THE HISTORIC Arkansas Valley National Bank building in Pawnee, Okla., lost some stones when a 5.6 quake struck at 7:02 am Saturday, Sept. 3. I was shaken awake in my bed at Emporia, about 210 miles to the north. Because the epicenter of the quake was near the Arkansas River, and because I’m writing a book about the river, of course I headed south to investigate. On Saturday afternoon, I found most of the damage in town had been cleaned up, although many buildings in the block west of the intersection of Sixth and Harrison were cordoned off with police tape. There weren’t many townspeople on the street, but I counted nine television news vans and cars. The building–which says “Pawnee Co Bank” on the side, but was actually the Arkansas Valley National Bank when it opened in 1918–is apparently for sale. Note the sign that declares, “New Price.” Saturday’s earthquake tied for the largest in state history with another 5.6 from the same general area in 2011; a swarm of earthquakes during the past seven years have been blamed on wasetwater injection from oil fracking. The state ordered 37 waste injection wells (of more than 3,000 in Oklahoma) to cease while the cause of the quake is investigated. Nobody was seriously hurt in Saturday’s quake, which was felt across seven states, according to the Associated Press.

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