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Earthquake hits Ellis County

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The Ellis County Press

MOUNTAIN PEAK - A 2.8 magnitude earthquake occurred late Friday, Dec. 4 around 11:30 p.m. with reports of being felt anywhere from Waxahachie to Alvarado.

"Nobody knows exactly what caused this one and several others in the area, although there are opinions," said Russ Wheeler, research geologist for Colorado School of Mines.

Several small earthquakes were discovered and reported in Johnson County earlier this summer and now Southern Methodist University has set up equipment and a study to conduct research as to why these are happening in the area.

Last year on Oct. 31, on the north side of Dallas at least five reported small scale quakes happened in the area.

"All of these from North Dallas, South Dallas and Cleburne are such a small magnitude it’s surprising anybody felt them," said Wheeler.

"Part of the reason is probably because Texans generally aren’t used to them [earthquakes] and so even the slightest movement underground can raise attention when otherwise would have been left ignored."

Oil and gas drilling in the area are raising concerns with several residents around the area that this might be the cause.

"There have been too few and they have been too small to really give an official answer in that area right now," said Wheeler.

According to Wheeler, there is a fault down at those depths somewhere.

"Of each one that was felt, the question is how many more were there and how many do we know about, since for each one that was felt several more occur," said Wheeler.

"The way it looks, this whole area could have them happen anywhere and anytime."

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