A tremor measuring 5.4 on the USGS scale occurred somewhere in the vicinity of Midland. The earthquake occurred on Friday at approximately 5:35 p.m. and was initially reported as a 5.3. However, it was later updated to a 5.4 before being dropped to a 5.2, then upgraded again to a 5.4. Finally, it was downgraded to a 5.2. People have described feeling it all over, and some have reported damaged tile.
The earthquake occurred precisely one month after a 5.4 magnitude tremor, which was the third strongest earthquake ever recorded in the state of Texas, struck near Mentone. The United States Geological Survey (USGS) detected an aftershock approximately three minutes after the initial earthquake. It was first recorded as a 3.6, but later it was changed to a 3.3. A second aftershock with a magnitude of 1.9 was recorded around an hour and a half later.
4th Largest Earthquake Ever
If what I’ve read is accurate, this earthquake would rank as the fourth largest one ever recorded in the state of Texas. In comparison to other earthquakes that have occurred in Texas, this one was considered to be quite severe. The state of Texas is located very far from any active fault lines and has a limited earthquake history. There have been no reports of damage in the Brazos Valley, although residents of west Texas may have experienced some light shaking this evening.
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What Experts are Saying
Jana Pursley, a geophysicist at the USGS’s National Earthquake Information Center in Colorado, said that according to early reports received by the agency, the quake was felt by more than 1,500 people over a large distance, ranging from Amarillo and Abilene in Texas to as far west as Carlsbad in New Mexico. The reports came from locations all the way from Amarillo and Abilene in Texas to as far east as Carlsbad in New Mexico.
Pursley stated that “it is a significant earthquake for that region,” and went on to say that “in that location, such an event will be felt for a couple of hundred miles.” The earthquake was followed immediately after by a less powerful aftershock, and Pursley indicated that there could be further aftershocks in the coming days with decreasing magnitude.
She continued by saying, “I haven’t received any information on damages, but it can split stucco or roads close to the epicentre.” A month earlier, there was an earthquake in West Texas that was roughly of the same magnitude. The earthquake that occurred on November 16 had a magnitude of 5.3 and its epicentre was located around 95 miles (153 kilometres) west of Midland.
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No Damages Reported
Residents of Lubbock, including A-J reporter Mateo Rosiles, have confirmed feeling the earthquake. However, there have been no immediate reports of damage caused by the tremor. According to information provided by locals who communicated with the Avalanche-Journal, there were additional reports of citizens in Abilene and San Angelo feeling the effects of the earthquake.
The mother of this editor, who lives near Abilene Christian University, was reportedly startled by the shaking and called the non-emergency numbers for the police and fire departments out of an abundance of caution. Officials stated that they were receiving numerous reports of the earthquake being felt in the community. Alex Driggars, reporting for the A-J from the community of Plainview in Hale County, stated that multiple individuals there also reported feeling rumbling at the time of the earthquake. Plainview is located around 40 miles north of Lubbock.
Texas Earthquakes are Increasing in Pace
According to a Texas Tribune study of state data collected by the Bureau of Economic Geology at the University of Texas at Austin, more than 200 earthquakes of 3 magnitude or more jolted Texans in 2021, more than double the 98 registered in 2020. The Permian Basin in West Texas, the state’s most fruitful oil and gas sector, is where the record-breaking seismic activity is mostly focused.
According to scientific studies, the increase in earthquakes is probably certainly a result of oil firms’ frequent practise of dumping massive amounts of contaminated, salty water deep below during the hydraulic fracturing procedure, which can reawaken dormant fault lines.
Nine earthquakes of greater than magnitude 4 were registered in Texas between 2018 and 2020, practically all of them in the western portion of the state. 15 earthquakes of magnitude 4 or higher struck Texas last year, including one with a 4.6 magnitude that shook residences in late December and had an epicentre about 30 miles northeast of Midland.