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Last Thursday, a magnitude 4.7 earthquake struck near Cherokee, Oklahoma just before 2 a.m., causing thousands of startled birds to take flight.

Earthquake scared so many birds they showed up on radar


Cheryl Santa Maria
Digital Reporter

Monday, November 23, 2015, 3:36 PM - Last Thursday, a magnitude 4.7 earthquake struck near Cherokee, Oklahoma just before 2 a.m. While the tremor didn't cause any significant damage, it did jolt people from their sleep and caused thousands of startled birds to take flight.

The mass take-off was so large the birds showed up on the National Weather Service's doppler radar, a piece of technology that's used to monitor weather systems -- not migrating wildlife.

This isn't the first time birds or insects have been picked up by weather radar, but the National Weather Service says this incident is unique because it shows the direct impact of an earthquake.

Last Thursday's quake was the strongest to hit the state since 2011.


RELATED: Get an in-depth analysis of Oklahoma earthquake activity from science writer Scott Sutherland


WHAT IS CAUSING THE SPIKE IN ACTIVITY?

Experts say earthquake activity in the state has risen by 5,000% since fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, began in the area in 2009.

This process involves injecting a mix of water, chemicals and sand deep into the ground to extract natural gas from shale rock.

The 2011, a magnitude 5.6 earthquake hit the city of Prague, damaging a number of homes and buildings. It is the largest quake in the state's history.

BELOW: See how people reacted when Alberta's largest fracking earthquake was recorded earlier in 2015:

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