5 earthquakes rattle West Texas; largest is magnitude 5.0

March 26, 2020 GMT

EL PASO, Texas (AP) — A series of five earthquakes centered near the same remote area of West Texas rattled the region on Thursday.

The temblors registered between 3.0 and 5.0 Thursday starting around 4 a.m., according to the U.S. Geological Survey. The epicenter was about 25 miles (40 kilometers) west of Mentone in Loving County on the border with New Mexico. The largest was a magnitude 5.0 about six hours later.

That quake could be felt as far as 150 miles (245 kilometers) away in El Paso, Texas and neighboring Ciudad Juarez, Mexico.

“It felt like a truck going by, then you could hear a crack in the walls,” said Verta Sparks, a deputy clerk at the Loving County Sheriff’s Department. She said the department hadn’t gotten any calls for service.

No major damage or injuries were immediately reported in the sparsely populated area. Loving County has only about 100 residents but is full of truck traffic serving the oil drilling industry in the surrounding Permian Basin.

Geologists say thousands of earthquakes recorded in recent years have been linked to the underground injection of wastewater from oil and gas production.