A western Texas region that is home to oil and fracking operations saw one of the strongest earthquakes in the state’s recorded history on Friday evening. No damage or injuries were immediately reported.
According to the US Geological Survey, the earthquake struck at 5:35 p.m. local time and had a magnitude of 5.4. It had a depth of around 9 kilometres and was centred about 22 kilometres to the north-northwest of Midland.
Prior to upgrading it, the agency had earlier published a preliminary magnitude of 5.3. The Midland office of the National Weather Service tweeted that it ‘would be the 4th greatest earthquake in Texas state history’ in the interim.
The early reports obtained by the USGS says that, the quake was felt by more than 1,500 people over a wide area, from Amarillo and Abilene in Texas to as far west as Carlsbad, New Mexico, informed geophysicist Jana Pursley at the National Earthquake Information Center in Colorado.
It’s a significant earthquake for that area, Pursley said, adding that it will be felt for many hundred miles in that area.
A less powerful aftershock occurred shortly after the earthquake, and Pursley predicted that there may be more in the future with a waning magnitude.
She said, ‘I haven’t heard anything about damages, but it can crack stucco or driveways close to the epicentre.’
A month ago, a quake of same size hit West Texas. The 5.3 magnitude earthquake that occurred on November 16 had an epicentre 153 kilometres to the west of Midland.