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35 wastewater disposal wells in Oklahoma shut down after record earthquake

Oklahoma (ThinkStock)

Oklahoma (ThinkStock)

PAWNEE, Okla. (AP) — The Oklahoma Corporation Commission has directed dozens of wastewater disposal wells within an approximate 500-square-mile radius of the epicenter the Oklahoma earthquake to shut down.

The commission says about 35 wells are included in the directive, which was issued following the 5.6 magnitude earthquake that struck Saturday morning about nine miles northwest of Pawnee in north-central Oklahoma.

The number of magnitude 3.0 or greater earthquakes has skyrocketed in Oklahoma, from a few dozen in 2012 to more than 900 last year.

Commission spokesman Matt Skinner says the wells were directed to shut down due to scientific links that the increase to the underground disposal of wastewater from oil and gas production induces earthquakes. The commission has previously asked producers to reduce wastewater disposal volumes.

The earthquake ties the record for the strongest earthquake in recorded Oklahoma history. No major damage was reported, and there was one minor injury.