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More quakes rattle county

By Brandon Evans | Published Saturday, December 14, 2013

At this point it might be fitting if a school district in southern Wise County renamed their mascot the Quakes.

Two more earthquakes with epicenters in the Newark area struck in the past week. A 3.6 magnitude tremor hit early Sunday morning, according to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). It was felt as far away as Decatur. A 2.7 magnitude quake shook residents in the same area three days later.

Those two bring the total number of earthquakes to 14 in the area in past month – an area that historically is devoid of earthquake activity. Most of these have epicenters near the north end of Eagle Mountain Lake.

So far, no damage has been reported from the series of quakes. It typically requires an earthquake of 5 magnitude or greater to cause structural damage to buildings.

The 3.6 felt early last Sunday matches the most powerful earthquake to hit the region. Another 3.6 was centered in Briar late last month and was felt as far north as Boyd.

Some geologists have pointed the finger at injection wells as possibly the culprit. These wells dispose of contaminated water from fracking by pumping it into rock formations well below the water table – but scientists say that activity can actually lubricate tectonic plates and initiate earthquakes.

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