Photo: Stonework litters the sidewalk outside an empty jewelry store on September 3, 2016, after an earthquake struck in north-central Oklahoma. Credit: REUTERS/Lenzy Krehbiel-Burton The earthquake that shook Pawnee, Oklahoma, on Sept. 3 is now the state's largest temblor on record, according to the U.S. Geological Survey, which just upgraded the magnitude to 5.8.
The earthquake was previously pegged at magnitude 5.6. But further analysis of the seismic recordings from the event found the quake size to have a bigger moment magnitude, according to the USGS. (Moment magnitude, which is based on the total energy released by the event, is considered a more accurate measure of magnitude than that of the now rarely used Richter scale, the USGS says.)
"Changes in estimated magnitude for an earthquake are common in the hours-to-days following the event, as more data are analyzed in greater detail than is possible in the first minutes after the earthquake occurs," according to a USGS statement. [The 10 Biggest Earthquakes in History]
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The USGS also ticked up the magnitude of the Nov. 6, 2011, quake that shook an area near Prague, Oklahoma; the previously estimated 5.6 is now a magnitude 5.7. That quake, which was felt in 17 states, injured two people and destroyed more than a dozen homes, according to the USGS.
The Pawnee earthquake may be the largest ever recorded in Oklahoma; but comparing current recorded magnitudes with those in the past can be tricky, since seismic instrumentation has "vastly improved" in the past few decades, the USGS said.
Even so, Oklahoma has experienced more earthquakes of late. And in May 2014, the USGS and the Oklahoma Geological Survey sounded a rare alarm. They issued an earthquake warning for the first time in any state east of the Rockies. The agencies warned that the risk of a damaging earthquake (larger than magnitude 5.0) had increased significantly in central Oklahoma.
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