Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

December 9, 2023

QC Feels Oklahoma's Quake

The Quad Cities felt part of the shake from a 5.8 “Pawnee” earthquake in Oklahoma on Sept. 3.
The quake was felt here in the QC and neither the Davenport or Rock Island Police Department received any calls from the community about the quake. Though it was mild in this area, it was considered a moderately strong earthquake over in Oklahoma causing mild damage to a few buildings.
Professor and Chair of the Department of Geology, Jeffery C. Strasser, explained that the earthquake resulted from a break, or rupture, in the rocks below the surface about 5.4 km.
Strasser clarified that, “Seismic waves travel through the rocks and can often be felt at long distances away from their source”, which is why the QC was able to feel an earthquake that originated so far away.
The US Geological Survey gave the “Pawnee” quake a 5.8. No deaths were reported.
Few members of the community were aware that they had experienced an earthquake, let alone actually feel it occur. The National Earthquake Hazard Program uses devices all over the country which help to pick up even the smallest of ground shaking, using the data given by the instruments to determine the origin of the earthquake in addition to the magnitude or size.
Strasser said that there have been multiple earthquakes, including “Pawnee”, in the O.K. area over the past 10 years. While there have been reported earthquakes in that area in the past, many more have occurred in that region recently.
“There is some evidence and much speculation that these quakes are related to recent injection of waste fluids generated by the petroleum industry by their ‘fracking’ processes,” Strasser said. While this toxic mix of gas, solvents, water, and oil are poured into the wells, they have a lubricating effect to the rocks. Consequently, this effect can cause the rocks further under the surface to break, causing more earthquakes than usual.
Strasser makes it clear that these claims are not necessarily 100 percent certain but the waste injection has been put on pause while the USGS continues to look further into the issue.

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QC Feels Oklahoma's Quake