CHICAGO (AP) - A magnitude-5.6 earthquake – matching the strongest temblor to ever hit the state – struck north central Oklahoma on Saturday morning and could be felt over a seven-state area, the U.S. Geological Survey reported.
The jolt rattled a wide area of the Great Plains, including Missouri, Kansas, Texas, Arkansas, Nebraska and Iowa.
It was centered about 9 miles northwest of Pawnee, Okla., prompting local officials to dispatch officers to check key facilities, such as the local water plant.
There were no immediate reports of major damage.
Pawnee County sheriff's department radio traffic noted that the quake had apparently caused several structural fires, including one barn, near the town of about 2,000 people.
The magnitude-5.6 quake equals a temblor that struck the town of Prague, in Lincoln County, in November 2011, according to the USGS.
An increase in magnitude 3.0 or greater earthquakes in Oklahoma has been linked to underground disposal of wastewater from oil and natural gas production, the Associated Press notes.
State regulators have asked producers to reduce wastewater disposal volumes in earthquake-prone regions of the state. Some parts of Oklahoma now match northern California for the nation’s most shake prone, and one Oklahoma region has a 1 in 8 chance of a damaging quake in 2016, with other parts closer to 1 in 20.
While hundreds of quakes shake Oklahoma annually, they have rarely been felt in northeast Oklahoma, the Tulsa World notes.
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