Several small aftershocks occurred Saturday after a 5.6-magnitude earthquake that was felt in many states rumbled through Shawnee and the state of Oklahoma about 7:02 a.m. In response, the Oklahoma Corporation Commission has already shut down at least 37 injection wells.
Many area residents reported this was the biggest earthquake they have ever felt. Saturday's quake tied the record-setting 5.6-magnitude Prague earthquake that the state felt in 2011. That quake damaged nearly 200 homes and crumbled the turrets at St. Gregory's University.
Many people have said the quake seemed to last about a minute. The United States Geological Survey (USGS) is gathering reports after confirming the quake was a 5.6 magnitude centered in Pawnee County, which is just north of Lincoln County.
Shawnee/Pottawatomie County Emergency Management Director Don Lynch said assessments were done in the area Saturday and there were no reports of any major damage from those initial sweeps. No injuries were reported.
"It was a 5.6 centered 8 miles NW of Pawnee. It certainly felt like a longer duration also," Lynch said. "We've had folks out checking. The only visible damage found... was a dip in the pavement southbound on Harrison Street on the outside lane in the vicinity of Joe Cooper Chevy."
The earthquake was reportedly felt in several other states -- Texas, Kansas, Arkansas, Iowa, Missouri and Arizona are among them.
The USGS is reviewing data from the earthquake.
"Without studying the specifics of the wastewater injection and oil and gas production in this area, the USGS cannot currently conclude whether or not this particular earthquake was caused by industrial-related, human activities," the USGS reported on its website. "However, we do know that many earthquakes in Oklahoma have been triggered by wastewater fluid injection. The USGS will continue to process seismic data in the following days and weeks that will help answer this question."
Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin, via Twitter, commented on the state's response to the quake, including the Oklahoma Department of Transportation inspecting bridges, with only minor issues reported.
She also tweeted about some of the damage being reported at the earthquake's epicenter of Pawnee and also about the state shutting down at least 37 injection wells in response to the earthquake. Those wells are within a 750-mile radius of the epicenter in Pawnee, where some damage was reported to historic downtown buildings.
Matt Skinner from the Oklahoma Corporation Commission issued the following:
"The Oklahoma Corporation Commission's Oil and Gas Division (OGCD) is in the process of implementing a mandatory directive to shut down all Arbuckle disposal wells within a 725 square mile area, based on the location of the earthquake that occurred shortly after 7 a.m. on September 3, 2016 near Pawnee," he said. "The area includes 211 square miles of Osage County, which is outside of OGCD jurisdiction. OGCD is working with the Environmental Protection Agency, which has sole jurisdiction over disposal wells in Osage County. The EPA will determine what action to take in that area."
The action in the area will involved a total of 37 wells, he said, adding that the schedule for shut down will vary according to the well, but all wells will be shut down within 10 days. The schedule is necessary because of warnings from seismologists that a large scale, sudden shutdown could cause an earthquake.
And while Saturday's quake was the largest since 2011, the USGS also reported a magnitude 5.1 earthquake struck in Oklahoma on February 13, 2016.
Within moments of Saturday's quake, many locals were leaving comments on Facebook and other social media as many people reported they were sleeping and were awakened by the quake.
Some commenting on Facebook also reported some minor earthquake damage, such as cracks in the walls or bricks of their homes.
Donna Chance: Hearing Tecumseh never thought it was going to stop. Shook my whole house - that was a big one.
Patricia Lincoln: Earlsboro had stuff falling off TV stand - had to hold flat screen so it wouldn't fall.
Sharon Baxter: I heard it coming from the North and it shook the crap out of my two story house then I could hear it traveling to Tecumseh.
Angels Fury: Felt it was fixing to drag my daughter out of the house. Woke me up from a dead sleep. That was a big one! Hope no crazy aftershocks.
Elaine Makaseah-Brown E. Alice Shawnee: Sounded like a truck coming up street..then like hail hitting house and shaking the whole time.
Robyn Jones Watkins: McLoud. I have stuff that fell off my walls and glasses that fell out of cabinet. Cracks in walls.
Yvonne Robbins I'm from California and it got my attention. That was a big one!
Danielle White: Have family in Ponca City and Arkansas ... they felt it as well as on the west side of OKC.
Adam Ewing First earthquake I've experienced. I thought the whole building was going to fall.
Charles Campbell: The Pawnee quake felt like somebody was shoving straight down on top of the house. The Prague quake felt like I was asleep on railroad tracks and train is coming. Live on West Georgia Street in Shawnee.
Francene Shortman Damage? Yeah ...Me!!! My nerves are a wreck and my anxiety was through the roof. The things we see happen other places or on TV happen here. Not as bad but enough to make reality set in just that much harder...
To read more comments, go to www.facebook.com/shawneenewsstar.