The Earthquake Warning you heard about doesn’t technically exist…
8:30 AM EDT on May 6, 2014
Put on the bicycle helmet, get to lowest floor of your house, and take cover in a hall closet or bathtub. Scientists have discovered a hook echo in earth's crust. As Dean Blevins would say, there's an earthquake #cuming.
Well, at least I think there is. As you've surely heard by now, the state of Oklahoma has been put under an earthquake warning by the USGS. The news has gone viral, making everything from the local news (KOKH, KOCO) to national sites (Drudge, HuffPo, Mail) and Linda Cavanaugh's Twitter. Even the AP picked up on the story. He's their report via USA Today:
Earthquake 'warning' issued in Oklahoma
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The United States Geological Survey says the rate of earthquakes in Oklahoma has increased by about 50% since October 2013, significantly increasing the chance for a damaging quake in central Oklahoma.
In a statement by the U.S. Geological Survey and Oklahoma Geological Survey, the agencies reported that 183 earthquakes of magnitude 3.0 or greater occurred from October 2013 through April 14. This compares with an average of only two magnitude 3.0 or larger earthquakes per year from 1978 to 2008.
A senior adviser from the USGS says he hopes the new advisory will become a crucial consideration in earthquake preparedness for residents, schools and businesses in the central Oklahoma area.
The statement indicates that a likely factor in the increase in earthquakes is wastewater injection.
So, they're saying all these little earthquakes mean there's a chance that we may have a big one??? No way?! Thanks scientists! I'm not sure what we'd do without you
Of course, there's only one problem. Earthquake "warnings" technically don't exist. It was just a hype term created by the media:
No, the USGS Did Not Issue an "Earthquake Warning" Today.
Several news websites posted reports today that the United States Geological Survey (USGS), the federal agency in charge of recording and studying earthquakes, issued a "rare earthquake warning" for Oklahoma. They did issue a statement saying that a strong earthquake could happen in the future, but using the term "warning" is pure hype...
What the sites breathlessly reporting an "earthquake warning" are ignoring is that the original statement was issued on October 22, 2013, and updated on May 2. They're picking up on it today because the information was pushed to the media this morning through a press release.
People are used to hearing "tornado warning" or "severe thunderstorm warning" in the context of an imminent, life-threatening danger that requires immediate action. Calling the statement an "earthquake warning" is hype. If anything it's an "earthquake advisory" or "possible earthquake statement." But where's the fun that?
Good question. What is the fun with that... other than watching Mike Morgan cut into Channel 4 every commercial break to tell us a deadly earthquake is coming. Wouldn't that be awesome? As a response, Channel 9 would probably send Val and Jim Gardner out to track and search for the earthquake.
"Yeah, David, we're out here in Shawnee and the ground is not moving. We're going to try to swing around to the other side of this fault line and try to get a better view. Winds are really picking up here."
"Thanks Jim! Now let's go to Val in Prague with reports of movement! Talk to me Va!!"
"Sorry about that David, it appears the movement was caused by a garbage truck. I'm going to need to find somewhere a little more stable."
"Sounds good. We'll be back with Val shortly. Now let's go to Kelly with damage reports."
See what I mean? That would be amazing.
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