When CSU graduate student Nicole McMahon was mulling over where, geographically, she would focus her thesis research in seismology, she chose to study earthquakes in Oklahoma. There were personal factors to her decision: She completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Oklahoma, her parents live in the Sooner State, and her sister enrolled this year at Oklahoma State University.
But she also knew that the state had recently become a hotbed of earthquake activity that would make for an interesting and important thesis.
Just last month, a magnitude 5.1 quake struck not far from Oklahoma City; experts said it was the third strongest quake ever recorded in the state. In October 2015, a magnitude 4.5 quake struck not far from Cushing, Okla. That quake was followed by one measuring 3.7 magnitude Nov. 8.
Quakes of this size — and even larger ones — had been forecast by McMahon, CSU Professor Rick Aster, and scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey, Oklahoma State University, Saint Louis University, and Global Seismological Services.