USGS: North Texas quake risk on rise

By: David Goins, WFAA

IRVING — A new quake risk map shows the possibility for a damaging earthquake in North Texas continues to rise.

The U.S. Geological Survey says that risk has grown tenfold since the area started feeling mild quakes in 2008.

Much of that activity is centered near Irving, as well as parts of Parker County.

New map shows rising quake ris

In Irving’s Heritage District, history matters and it’s one thing Georgia Thomas knows well.

“I’ve lived here my entire life,” Thomas said. “I was raised right here on this piece of property and we’ve never had earthquakes.”

Never say never.

SMU - Natural and man-made stress changes that cause earthquakes

SMU - Natural and man-made stress changes that cause earthquakes


Thomas says that changed two years ago when her neighbors began feeling tremors.

And then last year, Thomas’ home shook, too.

READ: Man-made earthquakes put millions at risk, report says

“I felt it," she said. "It was really scary. I thought someone had crashed into the house.”

The USGS released the quake risk map Monday.

SMU - Azle Earthquake locations and regional geologic structure

SMU - Azle Earthquake locations and regional geologic structure

In North Texas, the risk is less than five percent for what’s called a “damaging ground-shaking” quake, but it’s 10 times higher than what the area saw less than a decade ago.

And for the first time the map shows the risk not just from naturally occurring quakes, but human-induced ones as well.

A peer-reviewed Southern Methodist University study found disposal wells used in hydraulic fracturing as the most likely cause for earthquake swarms in Reno and Azle in Parker County in late 2013 and early 2014.

The Texas Railroad Commission oversees oil and gas exploration in Barnett Shale.

It rejected the study’s findings last September.

“Seems like it started after they imploded the stadium,” Thomas says.

Thomas says she’s not sure to believe but knows she wants the quakes to stop.

As the USGS forecasts more North Texas tremors over the next year. 

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