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Minor Earthquake Shakes West Texas

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It may come as a surprise to some, but Texas does in fact experience earthquakes. According to KTXS, at 3:15 p.m. on Tuesday, a small earthquake measuring at a magnitude of 3.5 hit a rural area around 19 miles southeast of Pecos.

Earthquakes that register on the scale from a 3-4 magnitude are considered moderate, meaning they can be felt, but not alarmingly so. According to Find The Data, “An earthquake that measures 3-4 on the Richter Scale will result in the following: Felt indoors by many, felt outdoors by few. Dishes and doors disturbed, like a heavy truck nearby, walls-cracking sound.” About 49,000 of this level of earthquake take place around the world every year.

If you’re curious about earthquakes occurring in Texas, Earthquake Track provides a great overview of what’s happened in the past. They compile information of earthquakes reaching a magnitude of 1.5 or higher. According to their reports, Pecos, Texas has experienced five earthquakes in the past year. In the Synder area (about 200 miles northeast of Pecos) similar statistics hold true.

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What causes these earthquakes in Texas? According to the Texas State Historical Association there are two reasons: “The major source is relief of tectonic stress along fault lines. These are most common in the Rio Grande rift belt, the Panhandle, the Ouachita Belt, and the Coastal Plain. Small earthquakes have also been attributed to well injections associated with oil and gas field operations and occur in areas near large oil and gas fields.”