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Name: Juan
Status: student
Grade: 6-8
Location: OK
Country: USA
Date: Winter 2011-2012


Question:
Why are there earthquakes in Oklahoma? Oklahoma is in the middle of a tectonic plate.



Replies:
Juan-

There can still be a build up of strain within a plate. There are faults in Oklahoma (and other states) along which there may be earthquakes. There may be folds and fractures, for example, that may have earthquake activity. Also, a stronger quake along a major fault like the New Madrid can trigger smaller quakes in other faults or cause rumbling that you feel in your state.

Here is a link to the US Geologic Survey's earthquake web page for Oklahoma. There is a section on earthquake history, as well as some maps that you can look at to learn more.

http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/states/?region=Oklahoma

Have fun learning more about your state's geology.

Patricia Rowe, MS Geology, MSEd


There are several theories as to why the cnetral portions of a continent would have earthquakes. Especially, when the New Madrid fault has generated the largest known earthquake in the North American plate and it is near St. Louis Missouri, practically dead center. Most of the theories center around the idea that the plates has disparancies in the weight distribution and thus causing inequities in the plate's resting in the upper mantle. One talks about glaciers pressing on the northern portions of the plate and many earthquakes are caused by the slow rebonding of the plate from the wieght of the past glacier activity. Another suggests that the Mississippi River drainage system is slowly removing material making the continent lighter and it slow bounces up off the mantle irregularly causing quakes along the numerous fault lines found throughout the plate. Another suggests that the moving mantle is placing forces that could casue quakes. There are other ideas. Steve Sample



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