Does Texas Have Earthquakes?

As it turns out, there are earthquakes in Texas, as in just about every other part of the world, which brings up once again the sanity of trying to store nuclear waste underground, but that’s another subject. At any rate, we had a 3.8 last weekend.  I also found a nice little account of another recent Texas quake online. (Please don’t panic, folks. We’re not on any plate boundaries or fault lines like the folks in California and Japan, so our earthquakes aren’t the big, destructive kind.) Here’s the firsthand account of a recent quake. I’m still trying to determine the exact date, but it’s kind of interesting.

A minor earthquake shook parts of North Texas on Saturday, (exact date not given), but no damage nor injuries were reported. 

The U.S. Geological Survey reported the quake at 11:24 a.m. came in at 3.3 in magnitude. The epicenter was in North Arlington, four miles south of Euless in a neighborhood south of Highway 10 and east of North Collins Street, 18 miles west of Dallas.

The earthquake rattled Irving, the Mid-Cities and other parts of North Texas. People as far away as Louisiana said they felt the quake.

Robert Budack, who lives in Irving, told The Associated Press he was on his bed and got bounced to the wall, but was not hurt.

Budack said he felt an aftershock that “was enough to make the couch and chairs shake.”

“I heard what appeared to be a boom or a loud noise, and just as soon as I heard the noise, then the house shook,” said Jerry McVay, of Euless. “It was pretty frightening. I’ve never felt something like that before. I’ve been around sonic booms, but I’ve never felt shuddered by sonic booms.”

Rebecca Nyangoma, also of Euless, said the earthquake scared her.

“I was like, ‘What happened?'” she said. “And my mom was like, ‘Maybe it’s an earthquake,’ but I was like, ‘No, it can’t be.'”

Geologists said quakes are unusual in North Texas, but not unheard of.

“Oddly enough, there were a couple of earthquakes just a couple of months ago in that same vicinity that were just a tad bit deeper,” said John Hobrook, a geology professor at the University of Texas at Arlington. “But they were essentially the first ones anyone had heard of in this area.”

Several quakes shook the Mid-Cities in October, rattling homes in Euless, Grand Prairie and Irving.

Hobrook said earthquakes such as Saturday’s come in clusters, so aftershocks may be possible.

But quakes such as the one Saturday often go undetected. There were about 1,500 earthquakes in the range of 3.3 in the United States last year.

It’s been some time since Texas had a “big one” — the largest, which measured 5.8, hit Valentine in West Texas in 1931.


Here’s a dandy little Texas earthquake graphic I found on a USGS site. It just shows the sites of some significant earthquake activity between 1990 and 2006.

As you can see, there isn’t a whole lot of activity during that time, but one shock was surprisingly close to Houston. Interesting. Here’s the info on the most recent earthquake in Texas:

Magnitude 3.8
Date-Time Sunday, March 13, 2011 at 20:16:21 (UTC) – Coordinated Universal Time
Sunday, March 13, 2011 at 03:16:21 PM – Local Time at Epicenter
Time of Earthquake in other Time Zones
Location 32.95N 100.81W
Depth 5.0 kilometers
Distances 27 km (16 miles) NNE of Snyder, Texas
65 km (40 miles) NW of Sweetwater, Texas
120 km (74 miles) SE of Lubbock, Texas
416 km (258 miles) NW of AUSTIN, Texas

About M.J.Deare

I am a writer, actively researching topics of interest. I am also a graduate of the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, with a degree in English, and have a master's degree from the University of Memphis. Born in New Orleans, I lived there until moving to northwest Arkansas and from there to Memphis, Tennessee. My husband and I currently reside in The Woodlands, Texas.
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