Twin earthquakes rattle North Texas

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by WALT ZWIRKO

WFAA

Posted on September 30, 2012 at 4:13 AM

IRVING — The U.S. Geological Survey recorded a 3.4 magnitude earthquake centered near Irving at 11:05 p.m. Saturday.

Four minutes later, there was a magnitude 3.1 quake in West Dallas.

News 8 has been receiving calls and Facebook postings from people who felt the earth moving in Richardson, Garland, Coppell, Dallas, Grapevine, and other locations in North Texas. 

The epicenter of the initial quake was located near MacArthur Boulevard and Rochelle Road near Farine Elementary School, according to coordinates provided by the USGS. 

The second tremor was centered near the intersection of Loop 12 and Interstate 30, about six miles southeast of the first earthquake.

There have been no initial reports of serious damage or injuries. 

Ashley Finley in Las Colinas said she felt two tremors that shook her walls and furniture. 

Cheryl Gideon in Irving said she and her neighbors all ran outside. 

"We felt it twice in Euless about five minutes apart," wrote Denise Perez. "We weren't sure if a plane had crashed or the roof was caving in. It sounded massive."

Geophysicist Randy Baldwin at the USGS earthquake center in Golden, Colorado  told The Associated Press that the quake was just strong enough to likely have been felt for about 15 or 20 miles around the epicenter. He says the quake's online reporting system received no reports of any damages or injuries but there were some 1,200 responses from people who felt the quake.

Baldwin says smaller aftershocks are a possibility in that area in coming hours or days. He said the Saturday night quakes were detected by a seismological station located about 65 miles from the epicenter — somewhat distant — and the preliminary magnitude of 3.4 for the initial tremor could be revised up or down once further data is evaluated.

Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport continued operations normally during and after the quakes, which barely rattled nerves at the airport located partially within the city limits of Irving, said airport public affairs officer David Magaña. He told AP said the airport, which bustles at peak hours to get some 1,800 flights in and out daily, was in a quiet period with very little air traffic late Saturday night.

But he said those still in the airport definitely felt the quakes.

"I wouldn't call it panic. I would call it surprise," Magaña said.

He said members of the airport operations team immediately conducted a special inspection of the airfield, buildings and found nothing harmed by the quake.

"We don't have any damage to report. There were no impacts or (power) outages and no disruptions to flights," Magaña said. "I felt it at my house. It shook it a little bit but it wasn't enough of a jolt to shake anything loose like you have in California. I've been in California and this was nothing like that."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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