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The induced Mw 5.0 March 2020 west Texas seismic sequence

December 4, 2020

On March 26, 2020, a M 5.0 earthquake occurred in the Delaware Basin, Texas, near the border between Reeves and Culberson Counties. This was the third largest earthquake recorded in Texas and the largest earthquake in the Central and Eastern United States since the three M 5.0–5.8 induced events in Oklahoma during 2016. Using multistation waveform template matching, we detect 3,940 earthquakes in the sequence with the first event in the area occurring in May 2018. The M 5.0 earthquake sequence occurred on a ENE (∼082°) normal fault dipping ∼37° toward the south. The earthquake caused 6 mm of oblique surface deformation, and geodetic slip inversion suggests slip was isolated above 6 km depth. We find that the sequence was most likely induced by nearby wastewater disposal operations, and seismicity rates in the region surrounding the M 5.0 will likely continue to increase in the future if disposal operations continue unaltered.

Publication Year 2021
Title The induced Mw 5.0 March 2020 west Texas seismic sequence
DOI 10.1029/2020JB020693
Authors Robert Skoumal, Joern Kaven, Andrew Barbour, Charles Wicks, Michael R. Brudzinski, Elizabeth S. Cochran, Justin Rubinstein
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth
Index ID 70217650
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Earthquake Science Center