Central Nebraska shaken by series of earthquakes

Oklahoma is the state known in recent years for its earthquakes—some strong ones. But Nebraska?

The latest in a series of quakes registered 3.8 magnitude near the western town of Arnold. The U.S. Geological Survey says the Monday morning quake hit around 10:25 and its epicenter was only 2.5 miles from the town or 36 miles northeast of North Platte.

Reports indicate at least 5 earthquakes have rattled the Arnold area. Three were reported between 2 a.m. and 4 a.m. on  Sunday and the strongest measured 4.1 magnitude. The quakes started shaking the area Friday night and it measured 4.1 magnitude, according to an update from the USGS. Initially it measured 4.2 magnitude.


The series of quakes followed six other earthquakes that struck the Arnold area over several days in April. They measured 2.5 to 3.7 in  magnitude.

No one’s blaming the oil and gas industry like they have in Oklahoma. Nebraska State Geologist Matt Joeckel believes they’re due to fault lines that run a few miles underneath the earth’s surface.


“But it’s certainly not a fault that we could map at the surface because if you know anything about this area of Nebraska, you know that there aren’t any rock-out crops and mostly when we map faults we map them in bedrock,” said Joeckel in a recent interview. “Perhaps what the only thing that’s disconcerting about this is, in effect, how little we know about the geologic structure underneath Nebraska,” said Joeckel.

Over the last four decades, earthquakes have happened all over the state, but never anything greater than a 4.3 magnitude.

“Every time there’s an earthquake, however weak it happens to be, it’s one more data point on the map, and one more small piece of data that helps us understand the geology of Nebraska better,” said Joeckel.

The USGS website lists the strongest earthquakes in Nebraska in 2002 and 1978.