Oklahoma’s Number Ones

As most of the nation knows by now, Oklahoma had its largest earthquake ever shake us out of bed last night. ABC World News Sunday evening made a point in noting our weather related number ones for the state for just this past year. They include:

Hottest summer

Coldest temperature

Largest Hail Stone

Most snowfall

Highest wind speed

Add a couple of crippling tornados and there’s Oklahoma weather. No wonder the National Weather Service is located in Oklahoma and the University of Oklahoma hosts one of the best meteorological programs in the world.  The University of Oklahoma also has the College of Earth and Energy, which includes the Oklahoma Geological Survey and School of Geology.

Lots of brainpower in these STEM fields concentrated right here where I live. In arguably one of the worst states for weather extremes, for those who have even a slight interest in weather-related sciences, this is the place to be.  The Geology School is nothing to sneeze at either. Who associates earthquakes with Oklahoma? The geologists do.

My kids’ Cub Scout den took an excursion looking for geological specimens, like fossils, petrified wood, examples of prehistoric Oklahoma. The leader for this educational afternoon was a professor in the geology department who volunteered his time each spring for the fourth and fifth graders. This guy exuded his love for geology and the boys found it infectious.

The morning included an overview of geological formations and how the earth is constructed. That afternoon we toured several different ‘hot spots’ in south central Oklahoma and the boys collected their prized fossils, dumping them in the back of my Tahoe. About midway through the afternoon and noting their enthusiasm was stronger at each stop, I made a comment to our geology leader.

“Can you believe that anyone could get this excited over rocks?”

He looked at me with disbelief and then I remembered his vocation. Oops.

So while the rocks of Oklahoma and for that matter the geological formations that tend to quake on us once in awhile, hold little interest for me, it’s good to know that there are those STEMs who do get a buzz out of those studies. Intuition is a great thing. Learn to listen to it and follow it. We need to know more about these earthquake things. Get excited.

I don’t care to wake up to the sound of earth moving by itself again.


About stemzandroses

I'm an engineer and writer with a built-in need to share my nearly 40 years of experience working in a male-dominated field with the rest of the world.
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4 Responses to Oklahoma’s Number Ones

  1. Kim Curry says:

    My father’s first Bachelor’s degree was in Geology. He’s told stories of riding his bike around the Indiana University campus, finding geodes to take home and crack open. Then the Air Force wanted him to get a Master’s in Meteorology, so he did that. Dad tells the story of when I was about 4 or 5, sitting on his lap while he read a meteorology journal. He noticed me looking at the page, and asked “Can you read this?” So I read him a few lines. “Do you know what it means?” “No, Daddy.”

    Whenever the sirens went off, the rest of us would head to our designated shelter. My father, would go outside to look. Don’t try that at home.

  2. cc says:

    I love the weather discussion, but earthquakes are not a weather event. I’m guessing why meteorologists end up reporting them is because they have more science-related training than anyone else in the newsroom. Weather happens above the ground; earthquakes don’t.

    That said, to summarize, earthquakes are not a weather-related event. They are an earth-shaking event.

    • I agree, wholeheartedly and wondered, as you did, why on earth a meteorologist was suddenly a seismologist. The buildings aren’t even close to one another at OU!! Thanks for the comment!

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