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Series of small earthquakes rattle Greenbrier

The ground is shaking in Faulkner County with a 3.8 magnitude earthquake waking people up just before 5am Thursday morning. It's the strongest in a wave of quakes this week. Geological experts are now working to figure out why they're happening.
GREENBRIER, AR - The ground is shaking in Faulkner County with a 3.8 magnitude earthquake waking people up just before 5am Thursday morning. It's the strongest in a wave of quakes this week. Geological experts are now working to figure out why they're happening.

As Samantha Skirball of Greenbrier walked to her car she felt it.

"It’s like a sonic boom and then everything started shaking," Skirball says.

Her car rocked back and forth. Her windows were not the only thing rattling afterwards.

"It’s kind of crazy since I just moved here from St. Louis, they didn't have any up there,” Skirball says. “It's kind of weird."

That sonic boom Skirball described, you can see here, as a big burst of seismic activity colored in green.  Scott Ausbrooks with the Arkansas Geological Survey says the area has seen over 40 tremors this week.  You can track them all here.

"Any time the ground moves it unsettles people, it’s understandable,” Ausbrooks says. “I felt the earthquake this morning."

Is there a correlation between natural gas exploration and the earthquakes? It’s a possibility the Arkansas Geological Survey is looking at. The oil and gas industry has decided for the next six months they are not going to put any new disposal wells in the area the AGS is researching.

Ausbrooks says the natural gas producing wells themselves all over the Fayetteville Shale play are not to blame.

“What we can not rule out this time is the possibility of a link between the injection (disposal) wells and the earthquakes."

Still Skirball says her sidewalks are starting to crack. And she just wants it to stop.

"One day after an earthquake I noticed it, I came outside with my daughter," Skirball says.

The Arkansas Geological Survey has tracked over 600 earthquakes in and around the Greenbrier / Guy area since last fall.

The strongest earthquake in the area hit last fall, a 4.0 on the Richter Scale on October 11, 2010. But seismic activity in the area is not unusual. A swarm of small earthquakes hit the town of Enola in Faulkner County back in 1982.
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