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story.lead_photo.caption A seismic graph from a station in Ozark Folk Center State Park in Mountain View shows an earthquake late Sunday night.

— A 4.7-magnitude earthquake felt throughout the state and beyond late Sunday night appears to be the biggest temblor in Arkansas in more than three decades.

Scott Ausbrooks, the geohazards supervisor for the Arkansas Geological Survey, said the shaking was the most intense of nearly 800 small earthquakes rumbling out of Faulkner County since September and ties a 4.7 quake recorded in 1976. The 4.7-magnitude is still preliminary, but Ausbrooks said Monday it was a "low-end" estimate and it is not expected to be downgraded.

Join the discussion on our Facebook page and tell us what it felt like where you live.

The quake was centered near Greenbrier, where much of the seismic activity has occurred in the past six months. The shaking was felt far and wide this time, with thousands of people from Arkansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Mississippi reporting feeling it.

"We're at our historical max right now," Ausbrooks said. "In other words, based on history, we wouldn't expect anything larger than what we've seen or much larger. But looking at the fault, theoretically, if it ruptures at once, we could see a 5.5 (magnitude quake)."

Ausbrooks said that size of a temblor could damage chimneys and poorly constructed buildings. Such a quake isn't expected and anything larger than that is "very unlikely" but not impossible, Ausbrooks said.

Photo by U.S. Geological Survey
A U.S. Geological Survey map shows where an earthquake was felt Sunday night based on reports sent in by area residents.

There were no reports of serious damage in Greenbrier, which sits 4 miles southwest of the quake's epicenter. Dispatchers there said the shaking lasted about two seconds and caused a small crack in one police officer's wall and knocked another officer's television over.

Ausbrooks said there were also reports of a broken window, items knocked off shelves and cracks in plaster walls in Greenbrier and areas just north.

The shaking occurred just after 11 p.m. and was followed by two more earthquakes: a 3.8-magnitude rattler about 15 minutes later and a 3.6 quake around 2:45 a.m. A 3.2 quake was recorded shortly after 7 a.m.

More than 4,100 people reported feeling the Sunday night quake on the U.S. Geological Survey's website. That number will probably double as reports trickle in Monday morning, Ausbrooks said.

Geologists are working to determine if the activity - dubbed the Guy Swarm - is caused by pressurized liquid injected into the ground by natural gas drillers or if it is a natural occurrence.

The Survey also recorded other earthquakes last week that weren't felt by residents.

Scientists recorded at least 10 quakes Friday, beginning with one registering 2.4 in magnitude at 1:10 a.m.

A larger quake with a magnitude of 3.1 rumbled 2 miles northeast of Greenbrier at 2:49 a.m., then one registering 3.5 was reported at 3:49 a.m.

Another temblor was recorded at 10:17 a.m. and registered 2.3.


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Archived Comments

  • jadedANDcynical
    February 28, 2011 at 12:34 a.m.

    Wow, the registration process could have been a bit more difficult. Do you want people commenting or would you rather dissuade them?

    In any case, there is an ongoing discussion taking place here:

    h t t p ://w w w .abovetopsecret. c o m/forum/thread668203/pg1

    Regarding the recent rash of earthquakes in the area.

    You might also be interested in this page:

    h t t p ://frackingarkansas.wordpress. c o m/

    It's only at it's beginning stages, but well worth the look.

  • FreeGlenCanyon
    February 28, 2011 at 3:47 a.m.

    Hey folks,

    Be sure to go see Josh Fox, director of "Gasland," at Hendrix College in Conway (Staples Auditorium) at 7:30 PM Tuesday night. This film was nominated for a Best Documentary award at the Oscars (sadly, it lost to "Inside Job," also a great film). A "Gasland, Part 2" film will be released this Spring with a section on Arkansans' experience with the fracking gas industry here in the Fayetteville Shale fields across central Arkansas. It's very likely that fracking is responsible for the earthquakes. Learn about the many other problems with fracking on Tuesday night!

  • RufustheRed
    February 28, 2011 at 7:20 a.m.

    we live in Hot Springs Village and we had a 3.8 quake that last about 4 minutes. no damage just a lot of shaking. My cats knew it was coming before we did they got all up from high places and down on the floor. Their fur stood on end. we had no idea what was happening until it actually hit. this is my first and hopefully our last. thank you very much Mother Earth.

  • ltneid
    February 28, 2011 at 7:40 a.m.

    I guess the best we can hope for with this is that the small tremors will release the pressure and avoid turning Faulkner County into a sinkhole. I've always had misgivings about the drilling, but when I saw that infomercial a couple of years ago with Ann Jansen, I KNEW it was going to be a problem.

  • jwwhite40
    February 28, 2011 at 7:53 a.m.

    We felt it in Bella Vista. I was in bed reading when our house began to shake. I have never experienced an earthquake but guessed that was what was happening. My guess is the shaking or vibrating of our house lasted about 10 seconds. I looked at my watch--it was 11:02 p.m.

  • Brobinson13605120916
    February 28, 2011 at 9:23 a.m.

    @Sasha, something that wasn't found in the Sunami was animals. They sensed what was happening and headed for higher ground unlike humans who ran to the beach to watch the wall of water about to hit shore.
    And we call them "dumb animals", I wonder what they call humans?

  • twkmaster
    February 28, 2011 at 12:06 p.m.

    They call them floaters.................

  • WoodlandTech
    February 28, 2011 at 12:10 p.m.

    Not sure if this report is completely accurate. It says that Greenbrier sits 4 mi. northeast of the epicenter. If that's the case, the epicenter was practically under my house, give or take a few yds. Recent reportings have cited epicenters approx. 4 mi. northeast of Greenbrier - out toward Guy. Based on what I felt and experienced at my house, that is probably more accurate.

  • HopefulN2012
    February 28, 2011 at 12:37 p.m.

    Ozarky, do you really believe that we little humans have the power to create earthquakes? That's about as silly as thinking that in 30 years we can produce enough car exhaust to ward off an ice age but commit the planet to global warming. You 'I like to live in fear as a liberal' types really hit me on the funny bone.
    Hey, where are they drilling in New Zealand?

  • NickieD
    February 28, 2011 at 12:42 p.m.

    OKPat... still at it huh? Have you ever read a science book? Do you know any REAL facts or did you get your degree in Climatology and science facts from FAUX News?
    You'd be better off just letting EVERYONE think you are dumb, rather than proving it with every-single-post!