New Study Finds Faults Under North Texas Are Sensitive to Earthquakes

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A new study shows that faults lying underneath North Texas are sensitive and if disturbed, earthquakes could happen.

The study, led by The University of Texas at Austin, included researchers from UT's Bureau of Economic Geology, Stanford University and Southern Methodist University.

Together they created a comprehensive map of more than 250 faults, totaling more than 1,800 miles in combined length. 

Some of the fault lines extend under highly populated areas in the DFW region.

Researchers said "the faults are relatively stable if left undisturbed, but that wastewater injection, a practice common during oil and gas operations, significantly increases the potential of the faults to slip if not managed properly."

"That means the whole system of faults is sensitive," said lead author Peter Hennings, a bureau research scientist and the principal investigator at the Center for Integrated Seismicity Research (CISR).

The study was published in the July 23 issue of the Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America.

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