Energy and Environment Reporting for Texas

Small Earthquake Strikes Near Fort Worth

Screen Image courtesy of the USGS.

A 2.3 quake was felt by some around Fort Worth.

Update: A 3.0 quake struck Irving on the night of January 22, which you can read about here

The US Geological Survey recorded a small 2.6 magnitude earthquake east of Burleson,Texas earlier tonight, occurring around eight miles deep. The tremor was felt by several people in the area, according to Dallas Morning News. This seismic activity comes just under a month since the last small quake. That measured a 2.3 on the Richter Scale and and was centered near Mansfield, Texas.

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 study that StateImpact Texas reported on just last week.

Experts caution that quakes of this small magnitude are highly unlikely to cause any damage at all. Some of them have even been the subject of some tongue-in-cheek internet humor.  Though quakes of even medium magnitude could cause damage, especially in highly populated areas.

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram talked to Fort Worth police Captain Kevin Rodricks, who says that the 911 center was inundated with calls from citizens who reported “a loud bang, followed by tremors.”

More from the Star-Telegram:

“It shook the whole house,” said Tina Enriquez, who is used to earthquakes having grown up in California. “My husband came out of the back and said it felt like the whole house came up and slammed back down.”

Enriquez lives in Southwest Fort Worth and says the temblor lasted about two or three seconds.

“It felt like an explosion,” explains the California native. “It was just a little tremble. But it’s still been a long time since I felt the ground rumble beneath me, and it was a little exciting.”

You can read more about the connection between earthquakes and fracking disposal wells at our topic page.

For up-to-the-minute information on earthquakes worldwide, check out the United States Geological Survey earthquake map here.


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