|Updated: 10/03/2011 8:10 pm
||Published: 10/03/2011 8:12 am
QUITMAN, Ark. (AP) - Two small earthquakes rumbled through central Arkansas late Sunday in a region where people seemed to be getting used to quakes just months ago.
The U.S. Geological Survey recorded a preliminary magnitude-2.9 quake followed by a preliminary magnitude-2.4 quake a few miles from Quitman.
Geologists say earthquakes of magnitude-2.5 to 3 are generally the smallest felt by humans.
The quakes, which didn't prompt any immediate reports of injuries or damage, would have been nothing out of the ordinary six months ago. Hundreds of earthquakes have rocked the region in the past year, including a magnitude-4.7 earthquake in February near Greenbrier that was deemed the most powerful to hit the state in 35 years.
But then the quakes all but stopped shortly after the Arkansas Oil and Gas Commission voted to ban wells for the disposal of natural gas drilling fluids in late July. Since July 31, only a handful of quakes have been recorded in the area, according to Scott Ausbrooks, a geo-hazards supervisor for the Arkansas Geological Survey.
Ausbrooks said Sunday's quakes come after recent construction work to close one of the wells.
"It definitely raised my eyebrows," he said Monday.
But Ausbrooks stopped short of linking the latest quakes to any recent activity there.
"I can't say one way or the other but I'm not going to dismiss it," he said.
Ausbrooks also said the Oil and Gas Commission's decision wouldn't mean that the quakes would halt right away.
"Just because they shut the wells down doesn't mean the earthquakes are going to just immediately stop," he said.
The area where the latest quakes hit is about 45 miles north of Little Rock.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)