New study links fluid injections to Timpson earthquakes

New study links fluid injections to Timpson earthquakes
Source: KTRE Staff
Source: KTRE Staff

TIMPSON, TX (KTRE) - Most Timpson residents can remember when a 4.8 earthquake shook their streets 4 years ago.

A new study by the Journal of Geophysical Research reported that the possible cause for the earthquakes were underground injections of oil and gas waste.

"It was pretty scary, wouldn't expect nothing like this to happen in this area," Mamie McQueen, a Timpson homeowner said.

The earthquakes that hit Timpson in 2012 are described as one of the most shocking and horrifying times for residents.

"It's pretty scary for folks that have never been involved in an earthquake," Larry Burns, the Timpson emergency coordinator said.

"There is nothing comparing to that, it was terrifying," McQueen said.

Earthquakes can be caused by injecting fluids at high pressures in some faults, which is what happened in Timpson unknowingly.

 "The railroad commission doesn't license workers near a fault line, but they were license by a fault line because nobody knew the fault line existed," Burns said.

That company shutdown soon after these quakes, which also shook up the Timpson economy.

"It was a big growth for the economy, we still don't want it to go away," Burns said. "We'd like for the oil field industry to be here, but at the same time, we found out later that one of the company's disposable line was fractured in the ground. They've since been shut down, and of course oil fields boom is down, so it's not running either."

Now that the problem to the quakes has been confirmed by an independent study, residents feel more relaxed.

"I feel a little safer knowing, well hoping, it won't happen again," McQueen said.

Most earthquakes linked to Texas oilfields are not large enough to cause damage, however, there have been reports of structural damage in Timpson.

The 2012 quakes were so powerful they were felt over 100 miles away in Shreveport, Louisiana.

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