Seven earthquakes hit Central Oklahoma on Monday, leaving residents shaken and buildings damaged. One of the earthquakes that hit was felt 300 miles away in Iowa.
"It lasted for several seconds, but it's hard to tell when you just wake up," said resident Frankie Robbins, who lives in Medford, 80 miles south-southwest of Wichita. The force which she was talking about was of a 4.7 magnitude that hit just before 4:00 a.m. There was shaking felt in Wichita as well.
A 75-year-old building, located south of Douglas, in Washington, was hit with dozens of bricks falling above the doorway. Owners claim that the earthquake was the cause of the damage, according to The Wichita Eagle.
"We don't know positively that that's what caused it," said Ron Van Etten, the recorder Midian for the Midian Shrine Temple, which owns the building. "We just kind of think that was for sure a factor in it."
In 2012 alone, only a few earthquakes were felt with a magnitude of 3.0 or above in the United States. But 720 have hit the nation this year, and they are happening in areas where several injection wells are pumping waste water into the earth. Due to this, the state regulators have asked disposal well operators to either reduce their volume or shut down their operations completely, according to The Week.
State Rep. Cory Williams, who is a strong critic of the state's response to the issue, has praised the commission for taking steps to avoid the impact. But he also mentions that the state's governor and legislature has done little to address the problem of earthquakes since the massive 5.6 magnitude quake hit in 2011, damaging 200 buildings.
Williams blames the legislature for being incompetent and not taking stringent steps at taking action. However, oil and gas industry officials are saying that they are working in tandem with the regulators to come up with a solution that does not jeopardize the economy, according to News OK.
"If you just shut it down, it would be devastating," said Chad Warmington, president of the Oklahoma Oil and Gas Association. "The goal is to be able to reduce earthquakes and still be able to produce."