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Two earthquakes at night rock West Texas awake


Odessa, Texas (KTRK) – People shook in West Texas overnight.

Two earthquakes were reported in the Midland-Odessa region.

One was measured at 2.5 and the other 2.6, a few hours apart.

Residents near Odessa tweeted that they felt the earthquake, but did not report any damage.

West Texas recorded more earthquakes than any other part of the state.

The Texas Tribune reports that West Texas saw a significant increase in earthquakes, as it jumped from 19 in 2009 to 1,600 in 2017 alone, according to a study published by the University of Texas at Austin.

The study, published in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth, tracked nearly 20 years of seismic activity. Scientists have documented more than 7,000 earthquakes near Becos starting in 2009, most of them so small that no one has ever felt them. Scientists have used a seismic system “some distance” from Bekos, but it is sensitive enough to capture vibrations 150 miles away.

“West Texas is now the state with the highest earthquake rates,” said co-author and associate professor of Southern Methodist University Heather Deshon in a written statement. “What remains uncertain is when the earthquakes actually started. This study examines that.”

While earthquake activity coincided with a significant increase in oil and gas production in West Texas, the study did not attempt to link the two.

Peter Hennings, co-author of the study and research scientist at the UT Bureau of Economic Geology, said in a written statement, that the research lays the foundation for understanding “the relationship between earthquakes and their human and natural causes.”

West Texas has seen oil and gas production increase at unprecedented rates, exacerbating air pollution and leading to a housing crisis, according to a joint investigation in 2018 conducted by the Texas Tribune and the Center for Public Integrity.

Part of the content in this story was provided by our Texas Tribune partners.

The Texas Tribune is a nonprofit, nonpartisan media organization that informs – and interacts with – Texas residents on public policy, policy, government and state issues.

Copyright © 2020 KTRK-TV. All rights reserved.


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