Energy and Environment Reporting for Texas

Another Small Earthquake Rattles North Texas

Still image taken from video posted to Flikr Creative Commons by Waifer X. http://www.flickr.com/photos/waiferx/2658307394/

A seismograph measures feet stomping nearby at the Thomas A. Jaggar Museum, Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, HI.

Update: Read about the Dec. 12 quake outside of Fort Worth here

Another small earthquake struck outside of Fort Worth last night according to the US Geological Survey.  The quake was centered near Mansfield Texas, about 20 miles Southeast of Fort Worth.

While it’s difficult to link any individual quake to a specific cause, North Texas has seen a significant uptick in seismic events since hydraulic fracturing technology opened up the area to widespread oil and gas drilling. Many scientific studies have linked earthquakes to disposal wells used to store drilling liquid, including one out of UT Austin, that StateImpact Texas reported on this summer.

The seismologist uses the analogy of an air hockey table to describe what’s going on. If the air is turned off, the puck won’t move even if you push it. But when you pump in the air, it moves easily. With disposal wells sending fracking waste water deep underground, liquid and pressure are migrating into a “stuck” fault. “

Two quakes that were strong enough to be noticed by residents struck near Dallas in early October. No injuries or damage to property were immediately reported in the aftermath of the Mansfield tremor, reports the Associated Press.

The uptick in quakes have lead to some policy suggestions. Including surveying sites before using them for disposal wells and injection liquid into the disposal wells at a slower rate.




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