What’s causing Texas earthquakes? Fracking ‘most likely,’ report says

Story highlights

Dallas area has suffered almost 40 small earthquakes since the beginning of the year

Study says oil, gas activities "most likely" responsible for area's earthquakes in 2013, 2014

Some experts caution that a definitive connection has not been established and further study is needed

Irving, Texas CNN  — 

Jim and Gail Wells have lived in the upscale Las Colinas area of Irving, Texas, for 14 years.

Nestled between Dallas and Fort Worth, they love their quaint neighborhood for its custom homes amid rolling hills and large trees.

One of the neighborhood’s newer features is a spate of seismic activity.

According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the Dallas area has suffered almost 40 small earthquakes (magnitude 2.0 or higher) since the beginning of this year, the latest a magnitude-2.7 quake near Farmers Branch on Saturday. Many of the epicenters were recorded in Farmers Branch and Irving, with a couple to the south in Venus.

“The quakes don’t sound like much to somebody from California,” Jim Wells told CNN. “But when you are sitting right on top of them, they are more than noticeable. They will shake the entire house, and you have no doubt about it when you have gone through it. We have in my home perhaps 100 or more wall hangings, pieces of art – prints, etchings, oil originals – and none of them are hanging straight.”

On January 7 and 8, Irving experienced 11 earthquakes in about 24 hours. During one of those quakes – a magnitude 3.6 – Gail Wells says the rattling and shaking were so intense it knocked her off the sofa.

Susan Hough, a seismologist at the USGS and the California Institute of Technology, says the epicenter of these types of earthquakes would produce “average-to-high shaking intensities close in, but low intensities” about six miles out.