5.0 Magnitude Earthquake Shakes West Texas and El Paso Areas
A 5.0 magnitude earthquake shook West Texas, between the city of El Paso and Odessa on Thursday Morning.
A powerful earthquake shook the city of El Paso and Odessa. The first tremor registered a 3.0 magnitude, while the second one was a magnitude of 5.0 at about 6 hours later. A deputy clerk at the Loving County Sheriff's Department, Verta Sparks, told ABC News that:
"It felt like a truck going back; then, you could hear a crack in the walls."
The earthquake happened near the line between the mountain and the central time zones. In El Paso, a staff in the call center for the state's 2-1-1 Texas program -- a 24-hour social service hotline -- evacuated over the tremors. The city of El Paso said in a tweet:
"Calls will still be answered by the network, but the local specialists are offline."
No major injuries or damage was recorded by the county, which sits about 30 miles (48 kilometers) from the epicenters of the quakes.
The earthquake occurred as the result of shallow normal faulting about 40 km west of the town of Mentone, Texas. The earthquake occurred within the interior of the North America plate, far from any plate boundaries.
The preliminary focal mechanism solution for the earthquake indicates rupture occurred on a moderately dipping fault plane striking roughly east-west.
On Aug 1, 1975, a magnitude 4.8 earthquake occurred approximately 30 km to the south of this earthquake.
Due to tremors in El Paso from the earthquake in Culberson and Reeves County, the 2-1-1 Call Center is offline as staff had to be evacuated. Calls will still be answered by the network but the local specialists are offline.— City of El Paso (@ElPasoTXGov) March 26, 2020
The earthquake location aligns with old faults in the basement and is nearly 75 km east of currently mapped north-south oriented Quaternary active faults. Further analysis and possibly fieldwork are required to associate this earthquake with an existing or unmapped fault.
Locations across the central and eastern United States (CEUS) have been experiencing an increase in the number of earthquakes over the past two decades.
This is serious, but points at even more serious issues. With so many people staying home or in quarantine, what do we do if something happens to make our homes unsafe and need to evacuate our homes? This is hypothetical, but how would the pandemic effect going to a shelter?— Edward Neil (@hemoplapher) March 18, 2020
Scientific studies have linked most of this increase to human (induced) activity, predominantly related to wastewater injection in deep disposal wells in several locations.
However, other mechanisms such as fluid withdrawal, enhanced oil recovery, or hydraulic fracturing processes can also result in induced earthquakes. Furthermore, regions with frequent induced events may be subject to damaging earthquakes that would have occurred independently of human activity.
If only we had a utah-based company here that could test over 55k tests a day and have results within 90 minutes for the same test that is already being conducted in Europe. Day 4 since my daughter was tested for COVID-19 and we're still awaiting results. https://t.co/UamUXV8ZTj— Colton (@coltonspencer) March 19, 2020
On Aug 1, 1975, a magnitude 4.8 earthquake occurred approximately 30 km to the south of this earthquake; however, a detailed history of small (less than magnitude 3) earthquakes in this region is not well known because seismometers did not well cover the area until recent years.