Azle area rattled by three new quakes

11/19/2013 9:52 PM

01/03/2014 7:31 AM

A trio of earthquakes — two around noon and the third at dinnertime — rattled northeast Parker County on Thursday, bringing to 12 the number of small quakes in the area since Nov. 1.

The quake at 6:35 p.m. Tuesday was the strongest yet, with a magnitude of 3.6. The epicenter was about one mile north-northwest of Azle.

“It shook the ground, and it sounded like a boom,” said Amanda Stoneman, who lives in the Oak Harbor neighborhood on the west side of Azle.

“I honestly thought it was an explosion, and I thought it might have something to do with the gas wells behind our home.”

She was relieved that wells were intact, but the experience still was unsettling to her.

“It definitely startled me because I’ve never been in an earthquake before,” she said.

It was also felt at Red’s Burger House in downtown Azle.

“I felt the counter tops and the cash register shake,” said Cephora Bruton, a cashier. “I’ve never felt it Texas before, but I lived in California long enough to know what it was.”

There were no reports of serious damage or injuries Tuesday evening, said Dale Grant, a geophysicist with the U.S. Geological Survey’s National Earthquake Information Center in Golden, Colo.

Grant said even a 3.6 is not a damaging quake.

“Until they get into the upper fours, there is not really any damage associated with them,” Grant said, “especially not in a rural area with not a whole lot of high-rise buildings.”

But, he noted, the quake “was widely felt, all the way down to Fort Worth.”

The first quake Tuesday was magnitude of 2.5 at 11:57 a.m. south-southwest of Reno, according to the USGS.

Six minutes later, a quake was recorded two miles west of Azle, the USGS said. It registered a 2.8 magnitude.

The three quakes Tuesday brought the tally to 12 in North Texas since Nov. 1, according to the USGS.

Most have been at least 2.5, although one on Nov. 9 near Springtown registered at 3.0.

Most have been in northeast Parker County, but the earliest on Nov. 1 was a 2.1 magnitude near Richland Hills in northeast Tarrant County.

One quake, about a mile northwest of Azle on Nov. 8, was not previously reported by the Star-Telegram. It registered a magnitude of 2.4, according to USGS data.

“They’re definitely micro quakes,” said John Bellini, another USGS geophysicist.

Neither Grant nor Bellini on Tuesday would venture a guess about why there has been an outbreak of seismic activity in an area not known for it.

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