West Texas earthquake causes damage hundreds of miles away

Nov 18, 2022, 6:19 AM | Updated: 10:53 am

MENTONE, Texas (AP) — A strong earthquake that struck a remote area of the West Texas desert caused damage in San Antonio, hundreds of miles from the epicenter, officials said.

University Health said Thursday that its Robert B. Green historical building was deemed unsafe because of damage sustained from the quake, which hit Wednesday in a remote area near the New Mexico border. The historical building is more than 100 years old and has been closed off for safety reasons, University Health said.

The quake initially had a 5.3 magnitude but that was revised upward to 5.4. The earthquake’s epicenter was about 23 miles (37 kilometers) south of Mentone, a tiny community about 350 miles (560 kilometers) northwest of San Antonio.

It was one of the strongest earthquakes on record in Texas and hit in an area known for oil and gas production. On Thursday, the state’s Railroad Commission — which regulates Texas’ oil and gas industry — sent inspectors to the site to determine whether any actions were needed.

Earthquakes in the south-central United States have been linked to oil and gas production, particularly the underground injection of wastewater. The U.S. Geological Survey said research suggests that a 5.0 magnitude quake that struck the same West Texas area in 2020 was the result of a large increase of wastewater injection in the region.

In neighboring Oklahoma, thousands of earthquakes of varying magnitudes have been recorded in the past decade, leading state regulators to direct producers to close some injection wells.

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West Texas earthquake causes damage hundreds of miles away