East Texas town chosen as a site for a $4.7-million-dollar project to track earthquakes

East Texas town chosen as a site for a $4.7-million-dollar project to track earthquakes
Source: TexNet Seismic site
Source: KTRE Staff
Source: KTRE Staff
Source: KTRE Staff
Source: KTRE Staff

SAN AUGUSTINE, TX (KTRE) - Over the last several years, the East Texas area saw multiple earthquakes, much like the recent quake that shook Oklahoma. It has many wondering if the region is at risk of experiencing another round soon, and a state-wide network created to track and analyze seismic activity has selected San Augustine as a location for one of their seismic stations.

"North of San Augustine, there has been some record of seismic activity, so based on that movement, we have chosen them as one of 22," said Alexandros Savvaidis, Manager of Texas Seismological Network (TexNet). "We are then going to deploy a few stations bordering Louisiana and then more surrounding the state of Texas."

The question of what human interaction has contributed to these quakes over the years is exactly what this program will be looking for.

"We are letting the science take us where it leads us, and one of the reasons we are doing this is to determine the causes behind these earthquakes, said Mark Blount, external affairs for the Bureau of Economic Geology at the University of Texas-Austin.

The Texas State Legislature has pledged $4.7 million dollars to fund the research of analyzing, tracking, and researching critical information to keep the public safe.

"This is a long term project that the state has invested in at a very high level to try and get the very best information out the public about what is actually causing these events, so that the state and policy makers can respond effectively," Blount said.

Their research cannot yet confirm if oil and gas drilling or fracking is the cause of the seismic activity, but it is something they aren't ruling out.

"We don't have enough information in order to decide what is causing this type of events, especially because Texas is known to have natural seismicity," Blount said. "Studies show that there might be linked with waste water disposal wells, but there is still no data to prove that and that's what we are trying to do with the network."

The other East Texas location for the seismic station will be Marshall. This in addition to the San Augustine will be two of 22 seismic meters tracking, storing, and displaying research for the benefit of the public.

"We really do want people to understand that if an event should occur in the future, we will be able to do a good analysis of where it was and if there is any danger of aftershock," Savvaidis said.

They will make all of their findings easy and available for those wanting to stay up to date on the seismic activity in Texas. The data recorded from the meters can be found here:

More information about the legislative funded TexNet operation plan can be found here:

The network has narrowed down an exact location within San Augustine to three possibilities, but will announce their final choice by the end of this month. They hope to equip the public with the necessary information to remain safe and informed.

Copyright 2016 KTRE. All rights reserved.