SMU Professor Studies Irving Earthquakes

A researcher from Southern Methodist University and his team are studying the source of several recent earthquakes in North Texas.

There have been 17 earthquakes in Irving since October alone, and the city is now working with SMU professor Brian Stump to record precise measurements of activity.

Stump installed equipment Monday afternoon near the 2400 block of Texas 183 — where Texas Stadium used to be — to pinpoint the earthquakes' origin, and he will brief the Irving City Council in two weeks.

An SMU professor installs more equipment in Irving to try to determine the cause of 17 recent earthquakes before briefing the Irving City Council.

Irving spokeswoman Meribeth Sloan later described the installation.

"The gray box measures motion and the orange box contains a computer that records the data the gray box captures, then ships the information to SMU,” Sloan said.

Similar equipment was placed in Azle, and a study is currently going on there to figure out the cause of those quakes.

There is no consensus on whether the Irving earthquakes are related to nearby fracking wells or simply natural movement of the Balcones Fault Zone, which runs through Irving.

Irving police said they haven't received any official reports of damage or injury stemming from the earthquakes.

The shakes have been relatively minor, mostly measuring between magnitude 2.5 and 3.0, but they are enough to cause cracks in the parking lot pavement, according to management of The Ranch restaurant in Las Colinas.

“Luckily, it hasn't been too crazy, but you can definitely sense it,” said Judd Fruia, director of operations for the restaurant.

Explaining his first thought every time the restaurant shakes, Fruia said, “Did that really happen? Did I just feel that? Then I look around, 'Am I the only one whose feeling this, am I going crazy?'”

Surveillance video from a tremor last week shows slight movement of the wine glasses above the bar. Still, the concern is for the wine cellar, filled with some wine bottles worth thousands of dollars.

“A good jolt and they're rolling, so we had to invest in something to protect them a little bit,” Fruia said.

There is a crack in the pizza oven, which Fruia said has grown as a result of the earth moving below the restaurant, and there is another on the heat shield.

“My biggest concern is loss of product and loss of equipment if equipment breaks and we have to replace it,” he said.

A Google Map showing the locations and measurements of recent earthquakes in North Texas is embedded below.

NBC 5's Ray Villeda contributed to this report.

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