The earthquake hit at 7:44 p.m Sunday about 1 mile west of Cushing, Oklahoma and was felt as far away as Iowa, Illinois, and Texas.

It toppled building facades, shattered windows, and forced the evacuation of a 4-story retirement home. Police cordoned off older parts of downtown and public schools canceled classes on Monday.

Cushing City Manager Steve Spears said 40-50 buildings were damaged and several non-serious injuries were reported. He said, “It’s beginning to become normal.” The state had 19 earthquakes in the last 7 days.

Earthquakes were extremely rare in Oklahoma before 2009. That year, oil companies began using hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” to shatter deep rock layers. Fracked wells produce massive amounts of toxic wastewater, which is injected into ultra-deep disposal wells.

Oklahoma now has more earthquakes than anywhere else in the world. The largest ever recorded in the state hit about 25 miles north of Cushing on September 3 — a magnitude 5.8 earthquake. Last week, a magnitude 4.3 earthquake forced several wells to shut down.

Cushing is a town of about 7,900 people located 50 miles northeast of Oklahoma City. Its oil storage terminal is the largest in the United States. Tanks held 58.5 million barrels of crude oil on October 28, according to data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin said no damage was reported at the storage tanks. While some gas leaks occurred, they have been contained, according to Bloomberg.

Source: Winnipeg Free Press

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