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3.9-magnitude earthquake reported in central Oklahoma

Residents feel earthquake in central Oklahoma on Monday night.
From Staff Reports Modified: November 4, 2013 at 11:29 pm •  Published: November 4, 2013

The latest — and largest — in a series of earthquakes in the past few days was reported Monday night in the Oklahoma City area.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the quake measured 3.9 in magnitude. Residents in north Oklahoma City, Edmond and Spencer areas reported feeling an earthquake just after 10 p.m.

The quake was centered about four miles north, northwest of Jones.

Dozens of quakes have been recorded in the area in the past week.

Seismologists have been looking into the cause of vastly increased numbers of earthquakes in the state in recent years but don't have a definitive answer.

Disposal wells linked with the hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” process associated with natural gas drilling have been blamed by some, but officials have said fracking has only been found to cause small earthquakes for short periods of time.

Austin Holland, a seismologist with the Oklahoma Geological Survey, has said fracking does not account for the hundreds of earthquakes across the state in recent years.

Holland also said it's impossible to know whether the surge in the number of earthquakes in Oklahoma is a new normal or a temporary spike.

“We can't forecast or predict earthquakes,” he said. “We have no idea if this is going to continue the way it has been or die off. I would assume this is some sort of temporary phase. But how long that temporary is, in geologic terms, that could be hundreds or thousands of years. Who knows what kind of time frame that might be?”

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