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Oil-rich Oklahoma hit by 3.7 tremor

State geological agency reported more than a dozen seismic events since Friday.

By Daniel J. Graeber
Oil-rich Oklahoma hit by 3.7 tremor
Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin signed budget in June that aims to fill the largest budget gap in state history. The oil-rich state hit by small tremors the USGS said may be linked to oil and gas drilling. UPI/J.P. Wilson | License Photo

OKLAHOMA CITY, June 20 (UPI) -- A magnitude-3.7 earthquake hit central Oklahoma early Monday, the U.S. Geological Survey reported after several similar small tremors rocked the oil-rich state last week.

The USGS recorded the tremor near Fairview, Okla., around 3 a.m. Monday local time. A magnitude-3.2 quake struck near the border of Kansas late Sunday.

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According to the Oklahoma Geological Survey at the University of Oklahoma, there were more than a dozen tremors recorded in the region since Friday.

A March report from the USGS found central U.S. states have experienced a dramatic increase in seismic activity over the past six years. The report said the disposal of oil and gas-related wastewater is the "primary reason" for the increase in seismic activity in the central United States. A weekly report on rig counts from oil services company Baker Hughes showed 58 rigs actively exploring for or producing oil or natural gas in the state.

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USGS data show 888 tremors hit Oklahoma last year, a 51 percent increase from the previous year. The state recorded 34 seismic events in 2012.

Oklahoma is the No. 6 oil producer and No. 3 natural gas producer in the country. The state government earlier this year called on oil and gas producers to monitor wastewater in an effort to reduce seismic events.

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A June survey from the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, which extends coverage to Oklahoma, said economic growth for the state has outperformed North Dakota's, the No. 2 oil producer in the country, but not done as well as Texas, the No. 1 oil producer in the country.

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Gov. Mary Fallin signed off on a 2017 budget earlier this month that she said closed a $1.3 billion budget gap, a shortfall that was the largest in state history.

No major damage was reported from the recent tremors.

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