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Cracks from 5.6 quake found in the earth near Sparks

Marie Mentesana
Red Dirt Report writer Ted Smith sticks a small branch into one of the cracks along 1020 Road in rural Lincoln County, Oklahoma (11/6/11)
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SPARKS, Okla. – Near a remote, dirt road intersection not
far from this Lincoln County community, there are at least five visible cracks
in the road, evidence of the 5.6 magnitude earthquake that was centered here
late Saturday evening, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

Having experienced an earthquake both at Red Dirt Report headquarters in Oklahoma
City and another one while visiting Oklahoma State University in Stillwater –
all in less than 24 hours, your Red Dirt Reporter, along with RDR contributor
Ted H. Smith and photographer Marie Mentesana did our research as to the
location of the quake’s epicenter and – thanks to researcher “Dutchsinse” –
found it near the intersection of N. 3513 Road and E. 1020 Road, just to the
northwest of Prague Lake.

Driving to the location from Sparks Road, we did not witness
much in the way of damage – save for a few leaning power poles and some cracked
walls on buildings – until we got to the epicenter and found a man from Tulsa,
who gave his name as “Jason.” Jason had emerged from a pasture along 1020 Road.
It was near a creek, which had a bridge across it, which appeared undamaged,
despite the magnitude of the earthquake. The pasture was also marked as having
a gas pipeline on it, belonging to New Dominion.

Asking if he had seen anything of interest in the area,
Jason informed us we had driven over it. Sure enough, large cracks, where the
earth had shifted and split, were criss-crossing 1020 Road. We had found the
epicenter. It was a bit surreal.

Jason, who had family in the area, said he had walked back a ways and figured it was more
noticeable about a ½ mile from the road but that the cracks in the packed dirt
road were the visible part.

RDR's Ted Smith found a stick and stuck it down. At three feet it was
still going down, evidence that the crack was deep. Reports had said the 5.6 –
the biggest in Oklahoma state history – had emerged from three miles below the
surface. It was a little surreal imagining just how deep this and the other
cracks went down as the earth shifted last night.

While there has been a lot of speculation about the cause of
this big quake and the smaller, frequent quakes in the past weeks and months,
it is interesting to note that there is a lot of evidence of past and current
drilling activity. That’s not to say it is the cause, but many are making that connection,
especially concerning “fracking” activity. There is, however, no known fracking in this area.

*As we learn more about the geological nature of this particular area, we have learned that the so-called "Seminole Uplift" - which is approximately 50 miles wide and over 75 miles long - is distinguished with old rock layers, called "anticlines" that have adjacent faults and is believed to be the cause for the recent earthquakes. We hope to have more information on this from the Oklahoma State Geological Survey.

Others drove past the site, curious as to what was going on,
but not curious enough to stop, get out of their vehicle and join in the
investigation into this historic event.  Earlier, in Prague, two employees at Beachlers Market told us they had a big mess to clean up when the quake knocked all sorts of items off of shelves. They also expressed shock when we informed them that the 5.6 quake was getting international attention.

Meanwhile, RDR writer Ted Smith, who lives in Norman and is interested in geology and earthquakes said he "was very surprised to see a two-inch crack running across a rural road ... near Prague. So, with a twig I pulled from a shrub I
estimated the crack was at least three-feet deep ,but probably deeper. This was
the very center of the 5.6 quake that moved my floor in Norman last night."

Added Smith: "The earth is moving. That is why I have earthquake insurance."

Photos by Red Dirt Report photographer Marie Mentesana

*UPDATE 7:42 a.m. November 7, 2011

Copyright 2011 West
Marie Media

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Andrew W. Griffin

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Andrew W. Griffin received his Bachelor of Science in Journalism from...

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About Red Dirt Report

Red Dirt Report was launched July 4, 2007 as an independent news website covering all manner of news, culture, entertainment and lifestyle stories that affect and interest Oklahoma readers and readers outside of our state. Our mission is to educate, promote civic engagement and discourse on public policy, government and politics. Our experienced journalists provided balanced in-depth coverage of news stories that affect Oklahomans. Our opinion/editorial stories come from a wide range of political view points. We carry out our mission by reporting, writing, and posting news and information. read more

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