2015 Archives

SMU scientists will map faults in North Texas


The following is from the May 31, 2015, edition of The Dallas Morning News.

June 1, 2015

Staff Writer

Scientists at Southern Methodist University are embarking on an ambitious new project to map faults in North Texas.

The study, funded with $122,337 from the U.S. Geological Survey, would help answer key questions about recent earthquakes in Dallas-Fort Worth.

Those questions include: “How large of a quake can we have?” “Where are our most dangerous faults?” “How can we tell more quickly if a quake is natural or man-made?”

North Texas has had more than 160 earthquakes since 2008, including a record-breaking magnitude 4 tremor that struck near the town of Venus on May 7. Before 2008, quakes were virtually unheard of in the Dallas area.

Scientists at SMU, at the U.S. Geological Survey and at the University of Texas at Austin have linked many of the earthquakes with disposal wells, where companies bury wastewater from oil and gas operations. Geologists have known for decades that pressure from the fluid can build up near faults and cause them to slip, giving rise to quakes.

“In this area of the world, geologists and academics don’t know a lot about the deep faults associated with the recent earthquakes, because the faults don’t come to the surface,” said Heather DeShon, an SMU seismologist who will lead the new study with colleague Beatrice Magnani.

Read the full story.

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