4.8 Magnitude Earthquake Rattles Southeastern Texas

Could Be Related to Fracking Activity

Yahoo Contributor Network

Southern Texas shook on Thursday morning with a 4.8 magnitude earthquake, located south of San Antonio. According to the United States Geological Survey, the temblor was at a depth of about 1.9 miles.

Texas earthquake could be related to fracking activity

It is uncertain if hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking, activity had anything to do with Thursday's earthquake.

Fracking is a process by which pressurized water is used to fracture the rock layers in order to release natural gas deposits. This fracking wastewater is then injected into the ground for disposal and this practice has been believed to cause seismic activity in locations in the past. An earthquake swarm in central Arkansas this year is believed to have been triggered by injection wells from fracking activity.

According to an article on the News for Austin website, the location of Thursday's quake in the Eagle Ford Shale -- a prime location for oil and natural gas production in Texas.

Details about Thursday's earthquake

Thursday's quake was the largest recorded in this particular region of Texas and was felt by many in the region. In downtown San Antonio, the shaking from the quake caused some people to briefly evacuate a federal building.

The earthquake struck at 7:24 a.m. and was centered about 47 miles southeast of San Antonio and 103 miles southwest of Austin.

Recent seismic activity in Texas

The Lone Star State isn't a stranger to earthquakes as there have been recent small and moderate sized quakes in recent months. Several small earthquakes struck near Snyder on September 11 -- ranging in magnitudes between 2.3 and 4.4. A 2.5 magnitude quake also struck near Snyder on July 14 but an earthquake of that size is unlikely to even be noticed by anyone living nearby.

Historic earthquakes in Texas

Thursday's earthquake was located in the southeastern portion of Texas, south of San Antonio but the largest quake recorded in Texas happened in 1931 over on the southwestern side of the state very close to the Texas and Mexico border.

This 5.8 magnitude quake was centered near the town of Valentine where all buildings except for wood frame homes suffered severe damage. The schoolhouse at Valentine suffered such severe damage from the shaking that it had to be rebuilt.

Tammy Lee Morris is certified as a Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) member and is a trained Skywarn Stormspotter through the National Weather Service. She has received interpretive training regarding the New Madrid Seismic Zone through EarthScope -- a program of the National Science Foundation. She researches and writes about earthquakes, volcanoes, tornadoes, weather and other natural phenomena.

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