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Minor quakes rattle DFW area, but do no damage

The DFW area experienced something rare, yet moving overnight -- two small earthquakes that could be felt in in the heart of the Metroplex.

The two small jolts hit southwest Irving at 11.25 p.m. Thursday and at 12:01 a.m. Friday, according to the U.S. Geologic Survey's Information Center in Golden, Colo.

The first was a 2.5 magnitude quake and the second was a 3.0 magnitude, the center reported. It awakened residents in Fort Worth, Irving, Euless and Grand Prairie, Survey geophysicist Randy Baldwin said Friday morning.

Had the quakes occurred just before noon instead of the middle of the night, the 3.0 magnitude quake probably would have gone unnoticed, Baldwin said. “There were people within three miles of where it hit and they didn't feel a thing,” Baldwin said. “Last night’s earthquake was noticed by so many people because it hit during the quiet part of the day." There was no reported damage.

“It lasted a few seconds,” Baldwin said. “It probably felt like a truck passing by.”

The last earthquake to hit the north Texas area was in 1997, when a 3.7-magnitude earthquake rattled Greenville. That quake came almost two years after a May 31, 1995, tremor near Alpine, according to reports.

In 1985, a 3.3 magnitude earthquake hit about 50 miles north of the Dallas Fort Worth area.

The most powerful earthquake ever recorded in Texas occurred in 1931 near Valentine and registered a 6.0 on the Richter scale. That quake destroyed a school and damaged chimneys, walls and frame structures, according to reports.

Two fault zones, the Mexia and Balcones, run parallel through Texas from Sherman past San Antonio, but they are inactive, scientists say.

“They don't happen very often but they do happen," Baldwin said. "We have faults below the ground and once they are stressed to a point it causes a release."

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