03:29 GMT30 October 2020
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    A 4.0-magnitude earthquake rocked Northern Texas on Thursday as one of the most powerful earthquakes to strike the region since November 2013. Now, some scientists are speculating whether fracking, the controversial oil-drilling method, is responsible for this seismic activity.

    The earthquake hit at 5:58 p.m. near Venus, which sits about 30 miles southwest of Dallas. It was felt from southern Fort Worth and Arlington south to Hillsboro, according to the Associated Press.

    The earthquake came weeks after researchers from Southern Methodist University in Dallas testified before a state House committee that 27 earthquakes which struck northwest of Fort Worth during November 2013 and January 2014 are linked to fracking.

    Last month, Southern Methodist joined the United States Geological Survey of Texas to study a string of earthquakes that took place between 2013 and 2014 near the city of Azle seeking to gather evidence that the earthquakes were caused by man-made activity, specifically fracking.

    This earthquake struck in a region that has experienced more than 50 tremors since November 2013, according to the USGS.

    “The model shows that a pressure differential develops along one of the faults as a combined result of high fluid injection rates to the west and high water removal rates to the east," said Matthew Hornbach, associate professor of geophysics at SMU. "When we ran the model over a 10-year period through a wide range of parameters, it predicted pressure changes significant enough to trigger earthquakes on faults that are already stressed." 

    Marilyn Gerloff, of Johnson County, referred to the latest earthquake as a “sonic boom.” 

    Following the earthquake, The Texas Railroad Commission examined all oil and gas infrastructure within a 10-mile radius of the earthquake’s epicenter for cracks or leaks, according to the Arlington Star-Telegram. However, no serious damage or injuries were reported.


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    Earthquake, man-made earthquakes, fracking, Texas Railroad Commission, Johnson County, Texas, Dallas
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