What is the Strongest Earthquake to Have Struck Texas in the Past 100 Years?
Texas is known for many things such as great food, wide open spaces and the Texas Holy Trinity of Whataburger, H-E-B and Buc-ee's. What you may not know Texas is known for is earthquakes. That doesn't mean we've had massive quakes that shook our homes to the foundation but we've had some that may have knocked a glass or two off the table. What's crazy to think is that most of Texas earthquakes are man made. Let's take a look at why and the strongest earthquake that occurred in Valentine, Texas.
Strongest Earthquake in Texas
Earthquakes have been felt all across the state of Texas, including in East Texas. Texas even has several fault lines. Three of them run through West Texas, another one runs through North Texas and another runs through Southwest Texas. These faults are not as active like the one in California but can cause some minor quakes. The strongest earthquake in Texas was registered in 1931 about 7 miles southwest of Valentine. That quake measured 5.8 and caused damage to several buildings and the school there.
In terms of magnitude and damage, this is the largest earthquake known to have occurred in Texas. The most severe damage was reported at Valentine, where all buildings except wood-frame houses were damaged severely and all brick chimneys toppled or were damaged. The schoolhouse, which consisted of one section of concrete blocks and another section of bricks, was damaged so badly that it had to be rebuilt. Small cracks formed in the schoolhouse yard.
Some walls collapsed in adobe buildings, and ceilings and partitions were damaged in wood-frame structures. Some concrete and brick walls were cracked severely. One low wall, reinforced with concrete, was broken and thrown down. Tombstones in a local cemetery were rotated. Damage to property was reported from widely scattered points in Brewster, Jeff Davis, Culberson, and Presidio Counties.- U.S. Geological Survey
A Majority of Texas Earthquakes are Not Natural Occurrences
What's crazy is that a majority of the earthquakes in Texas are not natural phenomena. The earthquakes we have felt in East Texas are actually caused by fracking, the process of injecting liquid at high pressure into subterranean rocks to extract oil or gas. This movement of underground rock is obviously going to cause some shifting of the ground. Usually these shifts will only cause a low scale quake but is enough to feel uneasy.
Another Earthquake Related Fact About Texas
As a volcano is erupting, the movement of magma will cause an earthquake. While there are no active volcanoes in Texas, there is a long dormant volcano just outside of Austin in the McKinney Falls State Park area. Have no fear, that volcano has been dormant for millions of years but evidence of its activity can be found in the park.
So next time you feel a little shake, just know that it can happen in Texas, it just doesn't happen often and are rarely dangerous.