OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — A 4.2 magnitude earthquake struck north Oklahoma City early on New Year's Day, the latest in a series of temblors in the area in recent days that's prompted state regulators to call for more restrictions on oil and gas operators.
No injuries and only minor damage were reported with the quake, which struck at 5:39 a.m. Friday near Edmond, about 16 miles northeast of Oklahoma City, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.
"We came out pretty good," said Mike Stewart, head golf professional at Fairfax Golf Club located near the epicenter. "I heard the earthquake, I expected some sort of damage, but all we had was some pictures fall, no broken stuff."
The city of Edmond reported about 4,400 power outages in the area shortly after the quake, but it was not clear if the two were related and power was restored within a few hours.
The temblor is the latest of at least a dozen since Tuesday when a 4.3 magnitude earthquake was recorded.
Oklahoma has become one of the most earthquake-prone areas in the world, with the number of quakes magnitude 3.0 or greater skyrocketing from a few dozen in 2012 to more than 800 so far this year. Many of the earthquakes are occurring in swarms in areas where injection wells pump salty wastewater — a byproduct of oil and gas production — deep into the earth. As a result, state regulators have begun reducing the volume or shutting down disposal wells in response.
However, the Edmond area has not previously been associated with the activity.
The Oklahoma Corporation Commission issued a statement Friday saying its Oil and Gas Division staff is taking action in response to the earthquakes in Edmond and that details should be available Monday.
"The issue is extremely complex, as the initial review of the data for the area in question has not identified any oil and gas wastewater disposal wells that are both high volume and in the state's deepest formation, a combination that researchers have identified as being at the highest risk for inducing earthquakes," the commission release stated.
The strongest earthquake on record in Oklahoma is a magnitude 5.6 centered in Prague in November 2011 that damaged 200 buildings and shook a college football stadium in Stillwater, about 65 miles away.