Earthquake measuring 4.7-magnitude shakes area outside of Hermleigh, Texas, USGS reports

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Friday, February 17, 2023
Strongest Texas quake since December recorded on Thursday
The U.S. Geological Survey reported on a 4.7-magnitude earthquake that shook an area outside of Hermleigh, Texas, early Thursday.

HERMLEIGH, Texas (KTRK) -- Texas' strongest earthquake since December struck an area outside of a tiny town in the state's Great Plains region, the U.S. Geological Survey reported on Thursday.

USGS data showed the 4.7-magnitude temblor was located about nine miles outside of Hermleigh, Texas, which is a town of just 345 people located 96 miles southeast of Lubbock.

The quake was recorded at 4:29 a.m. and had a depth of about five miles below the surface.

A pair of aftershocks were also recorded: one measured at 2.6-magnitude about 13 minutes later, and another almost two hours later from the original, measured at 2.5-magnitude.

There were no immediate reports of major injuries or damage from the region. All signs point to injection wells in the area as the cause.

Beyond smaller seismic activity, the Hermleigh-area quake is the strongest measured in west Texas since a 5.4-magnitude temblor on Dec. 16, 2022, which was centered 13 miles outside of Midland.

The month before that, a similar 5.4-magnitude temblor shook outside of Mentone, Texas, which was regarded as the strongest in the state in three decades.

While the earthquakes from Thursday and late last year were registered on seismographs, they may be classified as "light," according to the California Earthquake Authority.

For comparison, a minor earthquake would be considered one measured between 3.0 and 3.9-magnitude. The highest magnitude class is 8.0 or larger, or "great," which significant damage would be expected.