A Sharp Rise In Earthquakes Puts Oklahomans On Edge
by JOE WERTZ
Chad Devereaux cleans up bricks that fell from his in-laws’ home in Sparks, Okla., in November 2011, after two earthquakes hit the area in less than 24 hours.
For the past three decades, Oklahoma averaged about 50 earthquakes a year. But that number has skyrocketed in the past few years. In 2013 — the state’s most seismically active year ever — there were almost 3,000.
The quakes are small, and they’re concentrated in the central part of the state, where the Erwins live.
Amanda Erwin says that even on a clear day, she knows something’s up when the thunder begins: The chandelier swings, and the walls and bed start rumbling. Her husband, Keith, says the earthquakes remind him of the artillery he used to hear growing up near a military base. And when the sound and shaking fade, the game starts.
“We’re just trying to look at each other, and we play this game: What do you think it was? Er, 2.5? Nah, that had to have been a 3.0,” he says. “It’s a daily thing.”