Third Minor Earthquake Hits Same Part Of South Texas In The Past Week

May 14, 2019

A 3.1-magnitude earthquake struck about 45 miles east of San Antonio Tuesday morning, marking the third time a quake was recorded in the region in the past week. 

The United States Geological Survey recorded the earthquake just outside the city of Smiley in Gonzales County before 6 a.m. The epicenter of the quake was about 3 miles below the surface, the geological survey said.

An earthquake of this magnitude can range from being felt by only a few people to being noticeably felt, especially by people on the upper floors of buildings, the USGS website says. Anything with a magnitude of 5.5 or higher tends to be more of a concern.

Don Blakeman, a geophysicist at the USGS' National Earthquake Information Center in Denver, said there's a strong possibility Tuesday morning's earthquake was induced by injections of fracking fluids into the ground, but further study would be needed to know for sure.

"This area, in particular, if you look at it in on Google Earth is just peppered with well pads, lots and lots of oil and gas wells," Blakeman said when reached by phone Wednesday. 

The USGS says the largest documented earthquake induced by fluid injection was a 5.8-magnitude quake in central Oklahoma on Sept. 23, 2016. Earthquakes with magnitudes between 4.5 and 5.0 have been induced by fluid injection in Arkansas, Colorado, Kansas and Texas as well.

If you felt this earthquake, the USGS asks that you report it on its website.

An interactive USGS map shows around 50 earthquakes of similar magnitude in the same area of Texas since 1982. The map also shows another 3.1-magnitude earthquake was recorded in nearby Cuero on Sunday.

A 3.0-magnitude quake near Stockdale — about 12 miles from today's event — was recorded last Friday.