Not everything is bigger in Texas: Baby earthquakes shake Dallas

Two small earthquakes shook the Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area Saturday night, bringing a lot of surprise but little damage.

At 11:05 p.m., according to the U.S. Geological Survey, a magnitude 3.4 earthquake hit just north of Irving, a western Dallas suburb. Four minutes later, a 3.1 quake rattled nearby Cockrell Hill. Both were shallow — about three miles deep.

A quick scan of Irving-area Twitter posts during the quake reveal an expected element of surprise (“Did we just have an earthquake?” “WHO FELT THE EARTHQUAKE OMG”) but not much as far as damage (“We just had a earthquake I spilled my drank [sic] on my shirt”).

Flights continued without interruption at nearby Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, and more calls flooded into emergency officials to ask what had happened rather than to report damage. Area residents told the Dallas Morning News that the quake opened file cabinets and sent cats running but didn’t do much else.


Small quakes are not unusual in this part of Texas, even though it’s not home to a major fault line.

Saturday’s rumbles happened not far from a historical cluster of small temblors in nearby Tarrant County. There, researchers linked a series of small, shallow quakes in the Dallas-Fort Worth area between 2009 and 2011 to a nearby gas-waste injection well. None of those quakes, however, appear to have happened as far east as Saturday’s shakers in Irving, which is in Dallas County.

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