U.S. Geological Survey: Injection wells could be linked to recent quakes

UPDATE (KYTX 2:19 p.m.) - The second earthquake of magnitude greater than 3.0 in 7 days occurred in the Timpson area of northern Shelby County in East Texas at 3:12 a.m.
CDT today.

The quake's center was 3 miles deep. Today's earthquake was magnitude 4.3 and followed the magnitude 3.7 quake that struck the same area on May 10th. Earthquakes usually occur along fault lines deep underground.

The Mount Enterprise fault runs from near Mount Enterprise in southern Rusk County along Highway 84 to near Timpson.

A recent report issued by the U.S. Geological Survey says that injection wells used to store waste water from fracking used to enhance the flow of natural gas from drilling could be linked to the recent quakes.

This area has seen a lot of gas well drilling over the past decade or more.


Some geologists say more study is needed before this claim can be
substantiated.


TYLER (TYLER MORNING TELEGRAPH) - Residents of Shelby County were awakened this morning by an earthquake in the same vicinity as another quake just last week.

Shelby County Emergency Management Coordinator Danny Lawrence said the quake shook the fire station where he was on duty and there was some minor damage around the county, but no major damage or serious injuries reported.

"It was a minor ground-shaking that shook windows and rattled some dishes, but I haven't been informed of any major structural damage in the county," he said.

A statement from the Shelby County Sheriff's Office stated an elderly woman was injured when she was thrown from her bed, but the statement said extent of those injuries were minor.

Sheriff officials said the 4.3 magnitude quake occurred about three miles east of Timpson and lasted approximately 15 seconds.

John Bellini, a geophysicist with the U.S. Geological Survey's National Earthquake information Center, said the two quakes in one week could indicate the area might see a swarm of quakes in the area over the next few weeks.

Bellini said quakes strike areas where there are faults and LaRell Neilson, a geology professor with Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, said last week there's an active fault system that runs through East Texas, stretching from Mount Enterprise along Texas Highway 84 to Timpson.

It's called the Mount Enterprise Fault.

The fault is active and delivers low-level quakes, such as Thursday's, fairly regularly. He said the last one he could recall struck the area around 1994 and measured between 3.5 and 4 on the United States Geological Survey's equipment.

Lawrence said USGS data shows there was a strong quake in the area in 1957 and then every few years there are small quakes that most people never realize have occurred.

"These past two quakes have everyone a little uneasy right now," he said. "If we have another then it will really get people upset, because this is not something we are used to seeing like the folks out in California."


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