2015 Archives

New data shows North Texas fault line


The following is from the Feb. 11, 2015, edition of The Houston Chronicle and involves current research of earthquakes in North Texas by SMU scientists.

February 12, 2015

By Dylan Baddour
Houston Chronicle

North Texas earthquake swarms still baffle geologists, who never expected to study seismic tremors in the Lone Star State. But last month scientists installed equipment to record quakes near Irving, Texas, and last week the first numbers came in.

We still don't know much about why the region shakes, but here's what we just learned: the quakes have all been relatively shallow, and have centered along a newly-identified fault line near Irving. The data is thanks 20 seismic monitoring machines, supplied by the U.S. Geological Survey and deployed by scientists from Texas' Southern Methodist University last month.

"This is a first step, but an important one, in investigating the cause of the earthquakes," said SMU seismologist Brian Stump. "Now that we know the fault's location and depth, we can begin studying how this fault moves – both the amount and direction of motion."

Irving shook first in April 2014, but the area's strongest quakes struck last month. The so-called "earthquake swarm" follows others since 2008 that have hit North Texas — a region with no history of seismic action. This year, the USGS announced plans to raise the region's official earthquake risk level. Still, no one knows why the region has started to tremble.

Read the full story.

Read more about the current study by SMU scientists.

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