North Texas earthquakes trigger dam inspections

Eagle Mountain Lake

Credit: WFAA

The dam at Eagle Mountain Lake is being inspected daily in the wake of recent earthquakes in the region.

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Associated Press

Posted on November 30, 2013 at 6:07 PM

FORT WORTH (AP) — Officials are conducting daily inspections on water reservoir dams in North Texas for fear that a string of earthquakes may have caused cracks or loosened foundations.

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported Saturday that at least 19 tremors struck the region in November. The two strongest were 3.6-magnitude quakes, which geologists say are too faint for many people to notice.

The Eagle Mountain Reservoir manager is conducting daily inspections, said Chad Lorance of Tarrant Regional Water District. Eagle Mountain Lake is located near Fort Worth. It's also expected that the dam at Possum Kingdom Lake will be inspected after two quakes were registered in that area.

Lorance also told the newspaper that a team of engineers will be on site next week to perform a crest survey of the dams to look for changes from surveys conducted in the past.

Tarrant Regional Water District has requested advice from experts, including the U.S. Geological Survey's seismologists and geophysicists, Lorance added.

Lorance also said his department will contact the Texas Railroad Commission, which oversees oil and gas production in the state, in order to "stay up to date on any oilfield-related activity."

Geological experts suspect there may be a connection between injection wells, used to dispose of wastewater from natural gas wells, and earthquakes. Several of the earthquakes have occurred within a few miles of injection wells in the Barnett Shale.

Establishing a link between the quakes and the wells would take years of study, and there is no consensus among scientists about whether there is a link.

The latest earthquake happened Friday near Reno in Parker County. The 3.1-magnitude quake was the third-strongest this month.

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