Earthquakes Rock West Texas

A 5.3-magnitude earthquake hit western Texas on Wednesday morning.| Image by USGS

Multiple earthquakes struck a remote area of West Texas in the early morning hours of November 8, the United States Geological Survey (USGS) said.

A total of four temblors were recorded in the area around Loving County, ranging in magnitude from 2.5 to 5.2 on the Richter scale. A 5.3 magnitude quake is considered “moderate” and could potentially cause some structural damage to buildings, according to the USGS.

However, no injuries or structural damage have been reported in the sparsely populated area.

The strongest tremor hit just before 4:30 a.m. and was followed by three weaker aftershocks over the next several hours. The quake’s epicenter was about 23 miles southwest of Mentone and about 405 miles west of the DFW metroplex, at a depth of about 4.6 miles.

The USGS has predicted a 48% chance of a magnitude 3 or greater aftershock in the same area over the next week. The chance of a magnitude 4 or greater quake is 13%, and the chance of a magnitude 5 aftershock is 2%. 

A magnitude 5.4 quake was detected in the same area of West Texas on November 16 of last year, as The Dallas Express reported. In March of 2020, a 5.0 quake was recorded in Mentone. 

The strongest quake ever recorded in Texas was a 6.0 magnitude temblor in the city of Valentine in 1931, according to ASCE Texas. 

Millions of earthquakes with a magnitude of 2.5 or less occur each year around the globe and are often not detectable by humans but are recorded by seismographs, according to Michigan Tech University. Around half a million earthquakes ranging from 2.5 to 5.4 in magnitude occur each year that can be felt and may result in “minor damage.”

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