4.3 quake shakes up East Texas
May 17th, 2012
12:24 PM ET

4.3 quake shakes up East Texas

A 4.3-magnitude earthquake rattled eastern Texas early Thursday, the U.S. Geological Survey reported.

The quake, at a depth of three miles, was centered near Timpson, about 155 miles east-southeast of Dallas, according to the USGS.  It struck at 3:12 a.m. (4:13 a.m. ET).

At least one building in Timpson showed damage, with a number of bricks falling to the street below, CNN affiliate KLTV in Tyler, Texas, reported.

Ollie Barrett told KLTV that bricks from her chimney came crashing through her roof.

"There was a loud rumbling noise and then there was a lot of crashing," she said. Her 52-inch, wall-mounted TV was crushed.

One woman was injured when she fell out of bed and cut her arm, CNN affiliate KSLA in nearby Shreveport, Louisiana, reported.

And the Shelby County sheriff's office had reports of broken windows from the temblor, dispatcher Karen Shield told CNN.

The quake was the second to hit the area in a week.  A 3.9 quake shook Timpson May 10.

Thursday morning's earthquake was the third-strongest in East Texas history, KLTV reported, surpassed only by quakes in 1957 and 1964.

Cliff Frohlich, a University of Texas scientist, said it's possible the most recent quakes are related to energy production activity in the area.

"There are some injection wells in the part of the country where these earthquakes occurred," Frolich told CNN. "If they were very close to an injection well, that would suggest they were."

Injection wells are used in the disposal of dirty water from energy production, Frohlich said.

Frohlich said injection wells should not be confused with fracking, a process which involves injecting water, sand and some chemicals deep into the earth to crack shale rock, which frees oil and gas.

"Fracking almost never causes quakes," Frohlich said.

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Filed under: Earthquake • Natural Disasters • Texas
soundoff (323 Responses)
  1. Censorship is unAmerican

    What happens to shale when it sits in water? How are caves formed? Why is this a bad idea? How can we grow food with poison ground water?

    May 17, 2012 at 3:57 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Censorship is wrong

    Shale is dissolved in water causing caves. When these caves start collapsing it should be real fun.

    May 17, 2012 at 3:59 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Old Driller

    @BrendAn O...Chemicals? Get this straight: While the way we go about drilling and refurbishing oil and natural gas wells here in the US is rather sloppy when it comes to protecting our environment...(thanks to oily politicians greed), ya'll just THINK this is what's making you sick and killing you. Well, let me tell you all something; I'd rather drink frac water than take those mind-altering drugs USians are world famous for. Your demand for oil is only bested by youir demand for drugz, and wayyyy more food than your fair share. 4% of the worlds population, yoUS, hogging down a third of everything the world produces. Gawd you folks are HUGE!
    You know for a FACT how many die from your obesity epidemic, your drug epidemic, YOUR AIDS pandemic, etc etc etc....and you suspect US drillers. You even try to blame men like me for EQs.
    Try this sometime fat gay doper man...try walking up to an old driller and spew yer bs.. A man best put-on some rubber gloves if he means to tangle with an avg. American these days.

    May 17, 2012 at 4:07 pm | Report abuse |
  4. One_cool_Stud

    Wow. I'm going to TX in 2 weeks 😀

    May 17, 2012 at 4:08 pm | Report abuse |
  5. cyg

    Yeah, lets run the XL Pipeline right down the middle of the food/water supply of our country so the next quake that hits can send us all into starvation...brilliant humans at work, and mostly in GOP.

    May 17, 2012 at 4:09 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Renait

    As I understand it, fracking is the process of piping water and chemicals (some toxic) into layers of rock far beneath the surface for the purpose of releasing natural gas. An injection well is used to pipe waste water into layers of rock far beneath the surface for the purpose of getting rid of it. Similar process, different purpose. If one can result in earthquakes, the other can as well.

    May 17, 2012 at 4:11 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Old Driller

    @censorship is wrong (if that be your real name) We don't "dissolve" oilshale you jerk! We drill into the mountain of shale, drop some explosives down the hole, and loosen-up the shale. Then we pump some fuel down and set it all on fire. (We drill lateral holes to recover the melted shale oil)
    Also, we drill one wide diameter hole with several small diameter holes all 'round it, where we inject superheated steam that melts the oil out of the shale which is recovered via the large diameter hole.
    Now, you folks won't listen to an old driller, but you'll listen to an greedy politician with a huge oil and pharmaceutical stock portfolio. B/c yer drugged fat, lazy, ignorant, etc...and woiuld sell your soul to Uncle Sam to be free to be just THAT!. Even cut your own childs future in half to buy 'made in China' plasticrap you can't even afford! And you call this The American Dream!

    May 17, 2012 at 4:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Merrillee

      As if your mom named you Old Driller. And pick one topic to rant about! You're all over the page, Old.

      May 17, 2012 at 4:36 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Rob

    Really? A 4.3 caused that kind of damage? That's what you get for shoddy building. Move to California; we have 4.3's for breakfast, and have no damage.

    May 17, 2012 at 4:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Buildings in Texas are not shoddy

      There is no need to build to earthquake standards if earthquakes almost never happen in your area. You wouldn't build to hurricane standards if you don't have hurricanes in your area. You have to weigh the expense to the risk.

      May 17, 2012 at 4:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kimberly

      Rob-California is lovely. The coast line and expecially the northern area look like a post card! However Texas has more land and a home here that cost 100k or less would cost 3x that in California. I have lived in the Texas area most of my life and don't recall an earthquake (I am 46). While living in Cali I experienced 2 small ones, but I was shipboard and did not even notice! (Like being rocked to sleep really). We do have homes built for heat however; 120 degrees with no heat index!! Smiles to you!

      May 17, 2012 at 4:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • UhYeaOk

      Really? So why is it every time there is an earth quake in California I see crushed buildings etc?

      May 17, 2012 at 4:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Name*jim

      Dude, really? You live by an active fault line and you don't need to build to earthquake standards? That's like saying you live by a river and don't need flood insurance cuz it hardly ever happens. Dumb people shouldn't post

      May 17, 2012 at 4:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Christine

      Just goes to show how California is cranking out the intelligent masses. California's buildings are earthquake compliant because all the old ones fell down. The rest of US doesn't build to those standards because large earthquakes are rare and has older buildings(ie older then the 1970s when the buIlding codes where changed for California)

      May 17, 2012 at 5:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • arun

      @Rob - it also depends on how deep or shallow the quake epicenter was.

      May 17, 2012 at 5:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Name*jim

      The reason buildings outside of California aren't built to earthquake standards is due to cost. No one wants to pay for it. Builders don't care if your house falls down, they just get paid to build a new one.

      May 17, 2012 at 5:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • humberto

      Why didn't the rocks catch on fire if there's that much gas ?

      May 17, 2012 at 5:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • LinSea

      They aren't prepared for them. Heaven help them all when the New Madrid fault up in Missouri kicks up something big again. When it went off in the early 1800s, the Mississippi ran backwards for a while and the shaking was felt as far away as D.C.

      May 17, 2012 at 6:47 pm | Report abuse |
  9. President Obama

    God is real, as is Jesus. If you don't believe me, don't vote for me. Ditto Romney.

    May 17, 2012 at 4:25 pm | Report abuse |
  10. James

    There were no injection wells or fracking taking place here in 1957 when there was a 4.7 quake or in 1964 when there were a series of eight quakes between the months of April and August ranging 3.0 to 4.3. Everyone wants to blame someone.

    May 17, 2012 at 4:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kevin

      You bring up an excllent point: that one earthquake alone – or several for that matter – isn't proof of anything. But of course scientists know this and have thus been studying the increase in earthquakes around the country for the past several years. It's still a bit early, but it's looking like fracking might actually be OK while the injection wells are causing earthquakes. The science isn't that hard to understand.

      May 17, 2012 at 4:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Name*jim

      A rise in earthquakes around the country? Really, where did you get this info from? Do you understand how complex plate tectonics are? Do you realize that there are thousands of earthquakes all around the country everyday? Did you also realize that earthquakes on the other side of the world affect the fault lines here in north america? People please do your research before you post. I guess the big earthquake in Missouri in the 1800's was caused by injection wells.Damn republicans and their earthquake causing oil company buddies.

      May 17, 2012 at 5:17 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Merrillee

    I felt it up here in Milwaukee, lol..........

    May 17, 2012 at 4:39 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Hawk in Texas

    This quake happened about 8 miles from my house. the noise was like a sonic boom. the shaking was so hard it made the clocks on the wall chime. i still have to check under the house to see if there was any damage to the water pipes. yes there are injection wells close by. but there is fracking going on too. they just completed about 6 wells in the area. one was about 1/2 mile from my house. there was a pipeline that blew out and caught fire about the time og the first quake. the more they drill the more quakes we will have.

    May 17, 2012 at 4:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • SinTexas

      Hawk in Texas: Your exactly right....they have been drilling there heavily for more than 6 months now. No quakes in East TX in years and now all of a sudden here they come. The greedy GOP won't be happy till the earth is cracked with fire shooting out everywhere. Pure stupidity!! Feel for you my friend. I would be looking to move.

      May 17, 2012 at 4:55 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Old Driller

    @Merrilee...I've been blogging as s/n Old Driller' since before the word 'blog' was coined. Even before Usama Bin Laden became the most-wanted man alive. (1998 FBI's most-wanted fugitive. OBL was never charged by a judge for 9/11)

    May 17, 2012 at 4:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Merrillee

      Well, good for you. Why would you ask about anyone else's name? Seemed a little strange. And my name has two L's in it. But okay, whatever.

      May 17, 2012 at 4:58 pm | Report abuse |
  14. rosie

    Big_D injection wells are used all the time in the oil industry to help get extra oil from old wells and to maintain pressure within drilling fields. they are NOT the same as fracking wells.

    May 17, 2012 at 4:44 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Frack National Headquarters in Texas

    it is just the sweet music of money, lookin' for that Texas T, black gold.

    "Fracking almost never causes quakes," Frohlich said.
    'Almost never' = code for often

    May 17, 2012 at 4:50 pm | Report abuse |
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