[Editor's Note: This story was updated on Oct. 13.]
An earthquake with a magnitude of 5.1, the second-strongest in state history, hit at 9:06 a.m. 8 miles southeast of Norman Oct. 13 and was felt in northern Texas, southern Kansas and most of Oklahoma, according to the Oklahoma Geological Survey.
“It shook my monitor and our lights dimmed,” said JR Ricketts, director of the Osage Nation Membership Office whose offices are located in the Executive Branch building in Pawhuska. “It just felt like something hit the building. It made a kind of a boom.”
No damage or serious injuries were reported in the state.
Avis Ballard, the coordinator for the Johnson O’Malley program in the Nation’s Education Department located in Hominy, said she was sitting in a coworker’s office when they felt the building move, “like a shake and I heard the windows moving around, it was almost like a huge gust of wind came by the building – but wind has never done that to the building before, we were like ‘what was that?’”
Employees at the Osage Language Department in Fairfax said it felt like the earth moved and they went up in the air. Language recruiter Rebekah Horsechief said they went outside after the event and people from neighboring businesses were going outside as well to see if they could figure out what made the movement.
Renee Harris, director of the Nation’s Women, Infants and Children’s program located in Pawhuska, said her mother used to talk about earthquakes happening in Oklahoma when she was a little girl.
Osages, who are more likely to expect a tornado rather than an earthquake, were left puzzled but they are not all that uncommon in Oklahoma. According to The Daily Oklahoman, the OGS has said a “swarm” of small earthquakes has occurred in central Oklahoma over the past few years. Officials are unsure of the cause.
There have been two previous earthquakes this year in Oklahoma, both had magnitudes of 4.0. The first earthquake was on Jan. 15, which happened in Choctaw and the second on Sept. 19, which happened near Luther. The largest earthquake in state history was a magnitude of 5.5 near El Reno on April 9, 1952, which caused minor damage and injuries to two people hurt by a falling chimney, according to The Oklahoman.
Oklahoma’s buildings will soon be going under inspection in wake of the earthquake, according to a press release from Gov. Brad Henry’s office.
“Teams are already in the field examining roads, bridges and other state structures to determine if any damage occurred and whether any additional actions are necessary to protect public safety,” said Henry in the statement. “There’s certainly no reason to panic, but we want to err on the side of caution and do everything we can to make sure people and structures are safe.”
The governor’s office has been in contact this morning with emergency management, public safety, state transportation and state building officials to assess the impacts of the earthquake.
The Oklahoma Department of Transportation already has teams in the field examining roads and bridges, and the Department of Central Services and the Department of Public Safety are reviewing state facilities and buildings for damage, according to the release.
The Osage Nation Emergency Management, which is housed in the First National Bank building in downtown Pawhuska, experienced significant movement and sway during the quake, said Bobby Tallchief, director of emergency management.
“We have been in contact with the Osage County Emergency Management and there are no confirmed reports of damage,” he said. “If anyone knows of damage or was affected by the quake please contact either the Osage Nation Emergency Management or the Osage County Emergency Management offices in Pawhuska.”
To contact the Osage Nation Emergency Management office call (918) 440-0190 or (918) 287-5225.