OGS reports increase in earthquakes across Oklahoma, insurance agents selling more quake insurance

NORMAN, Okla. - Nearly three dozen earthquakes have shaken Oklahoma over the last week as seismologists at the Oklahoma Geological Survey are seeing more quakes around the state.

OGS reports 638 earthquakes so far this year in Oklahoma, 127 of those reaching 2.5 magnitude or higher. People typically begin feeling earthquakes at 2.5 magnitude.

Seismologists with OGS on the campus of University of Oklahoma said they are having a hard time looking closely at each quake because there have been so many this year. But researchers are starting to learn more.

"In the south Guthrie earthquake sequence, we are now able to define a fault that we didn't know about previously, so that is pretty encouraging," OGS seismologist Austin Holland said. "At least we can say something about what is going on in the sub-surface."

Finding and examining fault lines can help in understanding where earthquakes are more likely to happen, and eventually perhaps understand why they're happening, experts said. 

The surge in earthquakes has more people in Oklahoma buying earthquake coverage policies, according to insurance agents.

"In a state that gets tornadoes and floods and now earthquakes apparently, I have one less thing to worry about," Cynthia Nichols. 

Nichols purchased earthquake insurance for her home in Oklahoma City after she felt her home move during a recent earthquake.

She said she decided to purchase a policy to protect her first home.

"I worked really hard to get a down payment and my first home," Nichols said. "I didn't want one of the many earthquakes to undo all my hard work."

Insurance providers tell 2News anyone considering earthquake coverage shouldn't wait to purchase it. Following earthquakes of 5.0 magnitude or larger, agents have to wait a period of time, due to potential aftershocks, before they can sell protection.

"There is a 30-day moratorium and agents cannot add that coverage," State Farm agent Janine Morales said. "So it is important to have the coverage before we have the big one."

Holland said this year has been out of the ordinary when it comes to measuring quakes.

"We have seen a dramatic rise in the rate of earthquakes over what we had already seen as a dramatic rise in the number of earthquakes," Holland said. "So this year has been just incredible."

Nichols said since purchasing her plan, there have been more earthquakes near her home and she does have a few cracks in two of her walls now. For her, she is glad she talked to her agent and bought protection.

"He said it was $45 a year," Nichols said. "So I said, 'sign me up,' and that was it."

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