ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – The M5.4 earthquake sensed among the Big Country and surrounding areas has now been named the fourth largest earthquake in Texas history.
At 5:35 p.m. on December 16, an earthquake with a magnitude of 5.4 occurred 12.6 miles northwest of Midland. People as far El Paso, Dallas, and San Antonio felt the earthquake and/or aftershocks.
According to United States Geological Survey’s website, this was a result of shallow normal faulting. A normal fault is defined as dip or slip fault where the top block moves down to the block below. It is considered to be an intraplate earthquake, as it did not reach any tectonic plate boundaries.
Since 2018, around 120 earthquakes have happened within a 50 km radius of this one with a magnitude of 2.5 or more.
USGS wrote that over the past two decades, the central and eastern parts of the U.S. has had an increase of earthquakes. Studies have linked this to increase of human activity, more specifically, wastewater injection into deep disposal wells.
Aftershock projections show a 3% chance of one or more aftershocks with a magnitude of five or higher in the next week. USGS also estimates up to 19 smaller aftershocks are more likely to occur, with a magnitude of three or more. The first aftershock occurred at 5:38 p.m., only three minutes after the earthquake.