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Earthquake Blog: The Latest Details On North Texas Quakes

Doualy Xaykaothao
A Guralp seismic monitoring system helps SMU scientists locate earthquakes in North Texas. SMU seismologists have been studying an earthquake swarm in and near Azle -- and they are surveying Irving quakes.

For a deeper look at the Irving quakes, click here.

10:45 a.m. Thursday: The shake, rattle and roll of a dozen earthquakes this week in Irving has highway crews checking bridges and homeowners inspecting homes. No damage has been reported on roads, bridges or light-rail trains. While there hasn’t been any significant damage to homes, some are wondering about earthquake insurance. BJ Austin has more details.

8:12 p.m. Wednesday: A previously unreported earthquake struck at 1:24 a.m. Wednesday in Irving, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. It had a magnitude of 2.3. That means 12 earthquakes have now struck North Texas since early Tuesday morning.

4:15 p.m. Wednesday: Earthquakes dominated the conversation as kids left Gilbert Elementary in Irving Wednesday afternoon. Across the Irving school district, students practiced earthquake drills in case more quakes shake the city. Reporter BJ Austin  visited Gilbert after school let out.

Kathleen Garza, whose son is a second grader at Gilbert, approved of the drills. “I think that’s excellent,” Garza says. “It helps make sure they’re safe … especially for the little ones so they won’t be scared. … Last night, we felt a little one and my son was like ‘Mom, was that an earthquake?’”

Kesha Valtierra, a fifth grade teacher at Gilbert, showed the video to her students. They discussed different scenarios: what they would do if an earthquake struck if they were in a hallway or outside.

“With the fifth graders, they were pretty serious,” Valtierra said. “They’re probably more fascinated than anything. … They were very eager to talk about it.”

Here's the Irving ISD earthquake video:

3:05 p.m. Wednesday: Southern Methodist University says it will install 22 more seismographs in the Irving area over the next few days.

Fifteen of those monitors are being deployed Wednesday. Two more from the U.S. Geological Survey should be installed Thursday, with others to be placed on Friday.

Earlier this week, SMU placed a portable seismometer in northeast Irving.

SMU officials stress it’s going to take time to learn more about the quakes.

“In the near term, our first step is to put out seismographs to confirm and refine the location of the quakes and define the faults in the area,” Heather DeShon, associate professor of physics at SMU, said in a statement. “Only after we get that data will we be in a position to investigate the potential cause of the earthquakes.”

SMU seismologist Brian Stump says it’s premature to speculate on the cause of the earthquakes.

Stump plans to discuss the quakes with the Irving City Council Jan. 15. 

2:09 p.m. Wednesday: Emergency management officials from Dallas, Irving, Dallas County and the state met Wednesday to discuss the Irving-area earthquakes.

Dallas County officials plan to meet with SMU and Dallas emergency planners to “develop additional guidance to better ensure our plans and procedures are up-to-date,” County Judge Clay Jenkins said in a statement this afternoon.

Jenkins encourages residents to review earthquake preparedness and safety information from FEMA and the American Red Cross.

County officials suggest you have an "emergency kit that includes items such as bottled water, several days’ worth of food, a flashlight, a first-aid kit, pet food, and a battery-powered radio."

1:37 p.m. Wednesday: Robert Williams, a geophysicist at the U.S. Geological Survey in Golden, Colorado, says there is concern about the increase in North Texas earthquakes.  

“There is some concern that has increased because of the activity increase over the last 36 hours or so,” Williams told KERA’s Stella M. Chávez. “So we don’t know if there will be a larger earthquake that’s more damaging, but we can’t rule out that possibility and studies of earthquakes around the world for decades have shown that the more small earthquakes that you have in an area, the more likely you’re to have a larger earthquake. But it’s too early to say how likely, but we do want to say that there is a remote possibility for a larger earthquake and people should, I think, take general precautions.”

11:56 a.m. Wednesday: Carrieann Bedwell, a geophysicist with the U.S. Geological Survey in Golden, Colorado, said scientists would be investigating the North Texas quakes. 

"They will be looking at the parameters, magnitude, depth, location of each of the events," Bedwell told The Associated Press. "Right now we're calling it a swarm, because we've had multitude events happen."

Bedwell described a swarm as earthquakes approximately in the same location in a matter of a few days or so.

"Earthquakes of this size, like 2s, 3s, can happen pretty much anywhere in the world at any time," Bedwell said.

11:45 a.m. Wednesday: An SMU seismologist will update the Irving City Council about the Irving earthquakes at 7 p.m. Jan. 15 at Irving City Hall, 825 W. Irving Blvd. The council will also host a Town Hall meeting for residents and businesses at 6:30 p.m. Jan. 20 at the Irving Arts Center, Dupree Theater, 3333 N. MacArthur Blvd.

“We understand that the community has questions about the earthquakes, and we are committed to sharing available information,” Irving officials say. 

11:40 a.m. Wednesday: Irving’s 911 system has been inundated with phone calls from residents with questions about the earthquakes.

Irving police said in a statement: “The Irving Police Department requests that you refrain from calling 9-1-1 following an earthquake unless you are in immediate need of medical attention or other emergency services. An unnecessary call to 9-1-1 may prevent someone with a critical need from reaching an emergency operator.”

11:36 a.m. Wednesday: Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings says he'll meet with Irving Mayor Beth Van Duyne to talk about the quakes and develop a possible emergency-management plan. That's according to The Dallas Morning News.

11:25 a.m. Wednesday: Irving ISD says it will hold earthquake drills for students Wednesday, following the 11 quakes that have been recorded in and near Irving.

"The safety of our students and staff is always our top priority," Irving ISD spokeswoman Lesley Weaver said in a statement to KERA. "Like many residents, we are following the recent earthquakes that have been felt in Irving and surrounding cities. In Irving ISD, we are prepared. We have earthquake procedures in place and are continuing to educate our students and staff on the proper actions to take during and after earthquakes.

"Across the school district today, we are doing drills to help students and teachers know what to do in the event of future earthquakes. A video has been created to show Irving students how to 'drop, cover, hold on' during an earthquake. In the future, we will conduct earthquake drills in the same way that we have fire drills, tornado drills, etc. Safety drills are a part of our normal operating procedures and part of our routine in Irving ISD."

Here's the video:

Eric Aasen is KERA’s managing editor. He helps lead the station's news department, including radio and digital reporters, producers and newscasters. He also oversees, the station’s news website, and manages the station's digital news projects. He reports and writes stories for the website and contributes pieces to KERA radio. He's discussed breaking news live on various public radio programs, including The Takeaway, Here & Now and Texas Standard, as well as radio and TV programs in New Zealand and the United Kingdom.