Earthquakes surprise Dallas

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Linda Smith, News Editor

Irving residents may have noticed an earthquake and its aftershock around 11:05 Saturday night.

The magnitude of the quake reached 3.4 on the Richter scale and had an epicenter two miles from Irving, according to the United States Geological Survey’s national earthquake monitoring center in Golden, Colorado. The Richter magnitude scale, the standard measuring scale for earthquakes since its development in 1935 by Charles F. Richter, measures earthquakes on a scale of one to 10, with one being the lowest level of energy released. According to the Richter ratings, a magnitude of 3.4 puts Saturday’s earthquake at a “minor” potential hazard level; in fact, earthquakes around three or lower in magnitude are usually imperceptible.

“I did not really notice the earthquake at all,” said senior Deandra Lieberman, who was in the New Residence Hall with friends that night. “Several of my friends who did began speculating as to what was making the floor shake. I told them that, if the floor really was shaking, it could be another earthquake like last year’s.”

Although it affected few people at the University of Dallas, 400 reports came to Irving emergency operators, mostly about cracks in walls and ceilings and about pictures that had fallen off of walls, as well as about a possible gas leak. A total of around 1,200 reports were recorded soon after the initial earthquake, which was followed by another with a magnitude of 3.1 near MacArthur Boulevard and Rochelle Road. There was also a third earthquake on Sunday around 10:41 p.m. near the Las Colinas Country Club, not far from Carl Road, although there were no reports of damages or injuries.

“I was watching Netflix on my couch and the room was shaking, but it honestly didn’t affect me because I thought it was the guys upstairs,” sophomore New Hall resident Kelly Darling said. “Ever since grade school we have been taught over and over again about what to do in case of an emergency, that people should know how to react.”

Junior and California native Rebecca Rosen did not notice the earthquake, but promptly received a text message from her father back home. She responded with “3.4 … just like home.”

According to campus safety director Captain Charles Steadman, no phone calls came in from anyone at the university.

“Basically there was no damage, so there was nothing for us to do,” Steadman said.

Julie Dutpon, a geophysicist with the National Earthquake Information Center of the U.S. Geological Survey, said that the earthquake could be felt as far as the towns of Celina, Decatur and Ennis, Texas. This is unusual for the area as it is aseismic, meaning that earthquakes are “relatively infrequent,” according to Dutpon.

The geophysicists still are not sure of what exactly caused the earthquake, but “it is definitely something we are looking into,” Dutpon said. “We need further analysis to be able to determine the cause.”

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