Oklahoma now more quake-prone than California

CRESCENT, Okla.- The U.S. Geological Survey says an earthquake with a magnitude of 4.2 struck central Oklahoma.

The USGS says the quake centered about 3 miles north-northeast of the Logan County town of Crescent struck just before midnight Monday.

An earlier earthquake with a magnitude of 2.9 hit about 9 miles east-northeast of Enid around 10:30 p.m.

There were no immediate reports of damage or injuries with the latest temblors.

The quakes came the same day as the release of a USGS survey that found Oklahoma has a 1 in 8 chance of damaging quakes in 2016, surpassing California as the state with the highest probability.

"In the past five years, the USGS has documented high shaking and damage in areas of these six states, mostly from induced earthquakes," said Mark Petersen, Chief of the USGS National Seismic Hazard Mapping Project. "Furthermore, the USGS Did You Feel It? website has archived tens of thousands of reports from the public who experienced shaking in those states, including about 1,500 reports of strong shaking or damage."

The state has seen a flurry of earthquake activity this year, averaging 2.5 temblors per day. Before 2008, the average was one and a half per year.

Most geologists connect the spike in earthquakes to the state's oil and gas industry -- and its disposal of massive amounts of water into underground caverns.

The industry says there's no proof. However, the Oklahoma Corporation Commission recently called for a reduction of more than 500,000 barrels of wastewater daily, or about 40 percent less than previous levels.

Regulators have recommended reducing the volume or shutting down some of the disposal wells. Gov. Mary Fallin last month approved the use of nearly $1.4 million in state emergency funds for state agencies working to reduce the number of earthquakes linked to the wastewater disposal.

Oil and gas operators in Oklahoma, where the industry is a major economic and political force, have resisted cutting back on their injections of wastewater.