Earthquake hits Oklahoma town, threatens worlds largest oil storage facility

46

Buildings damaged, gas leaks prompt evacuations

A magnitude 5.0 earthquake has shaken central Oklahoma, leading to reports of “significant damage” to buildings and a gas leak.

The US Geological Survey reported the earthquake struck at 7:44pm CST, with an epicenter located one mile west of Cushing, about 50 miles northeast of Oklahoma City. It initially measured the quake at a magnitude of 5.3.

Cushing, which has a population of about 7,900, bills itself as the Pipeline Crossroads of the World. It is home to the Cushing Tank Farm, a massive oil storage facility that’s touted as the world’s largest.

 

The Oklahoma Corporation Commission said it and the Oklahoma Geological Survey were investigating after the quake, which struck at 7:44 p.m. and was felt as far away as Iowa, Illinois and Texas.

“The OCC’s Pipeline Safety Department has been in contact with pipeline operators in the Cushing oil storage terminal under state jurisdiction and there have been no immediate reports of any problems,” the commission’s spokesman, Matt Skinner, said in a statement. “The assessment of the infrastructure continues.”

A 4.5 magnitude earthquake struck the northern part of Oklahoma last week, with an epicenter near Pawnee.

Scientists have linked Oklahoma’s sharp increase in earthquakes to the underground disposal of wastewater from oil and gas production.

The Oklahoma Corporation Commission has shut down some disposal wells and ordered a reduction in the amount of wastewater disposed of in others.

Associated Press contributed to this report