Expert: 'Quakes could be a good thing

Published: May. 17, 2012 at 10:00 PM CDT
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NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - SFA geology professor Wesley Brown is searching for answers and hoping to get to the bottom of the recent earthquake activity in East Texas.

"In the end, we might not be able to 100 percent say what is causing it, but we'll be able to eliminate certain causes and so forth," Brown said.

Brown speculates last week's earthquake may have actually been a precursor to this week's.

"Define this one as the earthquake event and maybe last week as a foreshock," he said.

Although there have been two earthquakes, relatively close to one another, in less than a week's time, Brown says the occurrences may actually be a good thing.

"Small earthquakes can be a blessing in disguise," he said.

Brown says these earthquakes, felt in cities like Nacogdoches and across much of East Texas, are measured to be relatively mild.

This activity, he says, could be the earth's way of slowly shifting over time instead of shifting all at once, and causing a larger scale catastrophe.

"That way, you really don't have to worry about a big earthquake because you know the earth is venting, venting, venting," Brown said.

However, Brown says he's looking at all possible causes, including the influence of human hands.

"It could be man-made, and it could be tectonic," Brown said.

Brown says these small earthquakes are suspicious. And the possible rise in the practice of injecting liquid waste into the earth's surface may be causing the plates to shift.

Or, it may just be a natural occurrence.

"If you go back historically, they've been in the range of 3.0 to 4.0, in terms of the highest magnitude," said Matt Hemingway, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.

A report being conducted on East Texas hopes to pinpoint the causes of these earthquakes in the coming months. That report is scheduled to be released by September.

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