Record 5.6 magnitude earthquake shakes Oklahoma

The Saturday night earthquake had a magnitude of 5.6, and its epicenter was four miles east of Sparks in Lincoln County, according to the Oklahoma Geological Survey. The quake hit at 10:53 p.m., and it was reportedly felt as far away as Illinois, Kansas, Arkansas, Tennessee and Texas.
By Matt Dinger and Matt Patterson, Staff Writers Modified: November 6, 2011 at 1:08 am •  Published: November 6, 2011

photo - Mary Reneau talks with her husband on the telephone while she looks at the floor of her dining room, now littered with broken china, glassware and other sentimental keepsakes that were damaged when  tossed to the floor during an earthquake in the early morning hours of Saturday, Nov. 5. , 2011.  Doors of her furniture flew open and drawers were edged slightly open during the quake.  Mary and her husband, Joseph were awakened around 2:15 a.m. when their house shook and items began falling off the walls and form shelves and cabinets inside their two-story brick ranch-style  home in rural Lincoln County, about  six miles northwest of Prague.  Austin Holland, a seismologist with the Oklahoma Geological Survey, placed the quake's epicenter within two to three miles of the Reneau home.  The Reneaus have lived in their house for 25 years. Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman  ORG XMIT: KOD
Mary Reneau talks with her husband on the telephone while she looks at the floor of her dining room, now littered with broken china, glassware and other sentimental keepsakes that were damaged when tossed to the floor during an earthquake in the early morning hours of Saturday, Nov. 5. , 2011. Doors of her furniture flew open and drawers were edged slightly open during the quake. Mary and her husband, Joseph were awakened around 2:15 a.m. when their house shook and items began falling off the walls and form shelves and cabinets inside their two-story brick ranch-style home in rural Lincoln County, about six miles northwest of Prague. Austin Holland, a seismologist with the Oklahoma Geological Survey, placed the quake's epicenter within two to three miles of the Reneau home. The Reneaus have lived in their house for 25 years. Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman ORG XMIT: KOD

Holland said the fault has been active since early Feb. 10. He said Lincoln County, where the fault lies, can experience between 10 and 30 quakes per month.

The most intense motion from the quake could be felt in Prague. Holland said that’s no surprise since the epicenter was located near the town.

“You can think of it like throwing a rock in a pond,” he said. “The ripples radiate out from the center and decrease rapidly farther away from the epicenter.”

Reneau was told by Holland the epicenter was almost directly under their two-story brick home, which is about five miles northwest of downtown Prague. Reneau spent Saturday morning cleaning up broken dishes and glass in her kitchen. There also were some cracks in the home’s walls.

Making matters more interesting is the fact the Reneaus recently were informed by their insurance company that their earthquake insurance had been dropped.

She said the family had taken out the insurance several years ago.

Like most residents in town, the quake woke her up.

Elsewhere in town, most residents felt the quake and were certainly talking about it, said Brenda Rohling, who owns Cow Pokes Barbeque restaurant in Prague.

“It’s kind of wicked. I don’t know how to explain it,” she said. “We had one last February that everyone felt but nothing this intense. This was way beyond that. It was unique. People are talking about it.”

Chris Degraffenrid is a manager at the Boomerang Cafe in Prague. He said that building sustained some light damage.

“There are some cracks, some foundation movement but nothing major,” he said.

Degraffenrid said while he actually slept through the quake, “Some of my employees and some of my friends were awake when it happened. I’ve heard that some people have had some broken glass and mirrors, things like that, but nothing too severe.”

Checking for damage

Prague City Manager Jim Greff said authorities still are checking for damage. He said the cracks in the Boomerang Cafe building were easy to spot because that structure had been remodeled recently.

“We know those cracks weren’t there, but there are quite a few cracks in other buildings that we just don’t know how long they’ve been that way or if there are new cracks,” he said. “We’re asking anyone who thinks they may have had some damage to contact us.”

Greff said several books fell off a shelf at the library, along with a picture that fell from the wall.

“We could hear the dishes rattling in the kitchen,” he said. “A lot of people said they heard a boom. I got up after the first one and felt the first aftershock right under my feet.”

Heather Spicer, of Sapulpa, said the quake woke up her son and dog.

“At first I thought an airplane had crashed nearby,” she said.

“But now I believe it was an earthquakebecause the whole house just kept vibrating with what sounded like distant thunder outside.”

Edda Miner, of Norman, said, “Between 2 and 2:30 a.m., east Norman had an earthquake, small, but I could feel it, and the lamp over the table was swinging. Very weird feeling.”

Matt Hoover, of Perkins, was wrapping birthday presents at 2:20 a.m. when he felt the quake. He thought the experience, his first with a quake, was exciting.

“The whole house started to shake and a low rumble could be heard throughout the house,” he said. “It lasted about 20 seconds.”

Contributing: The Tulsa World, The Associated Press, Staff Writers Beth Gollob and Amy Raymond.

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