News & Features

Tracking Tremors Across Texas With New Website

 Texnet web

Oct. 18, 2017

The University of Texas at Austin Bureau of Economic Geology has finished installing the state’s earthquake monitoring network, TexNet, and thanks to a new interactive website, the public can follow and sort seismic activity in Texas in real time.

TexNet, the most advanced state-run seismic monitoring system in the country, was authorized by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and the Legislature in June 2015 with $4.47 million in state funding. Like many areas in the south-central United States, Texas has experienced an increase in the number of earthquakes during the past decade, especially in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, the Permian Basin region and south-central Texas.

The seismic monitoring system is being operated in parallel with the Center for Integrated Seismicity Research (CISR), a multidisciplinary research team led by Professor Ellen Rathje in the Cockrell School of Engineering’s Department of Civil, Environmental and Architectural Engineering and bureau research scientist Peter Hennings. 

CISR is conducting fundamental research to better understand natural and induced earthquakes in Texas. TexNet and CISR include research partners from Southern Methodist University, Texas A&M University, the Southwest Research Institute and other institutions.

TexNet includes 22 permanent monitoring stations, which brings the state’s total number of permanent seismic stations to 40.

A team led by bureau research scientist Alexandros Savvaidis managed the design, installation and testing of the statewide network. 

The system also includes 40 portable seismic stations that are being used to increase the density of stations in areas with increased seismicity, such as in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, South Texas, and West Texas in the Delaware Basin and Snyder area. These portable stations allow for detailed examination of the location, depth, size and frequency of earthquakes, so scientists and engineers can better assess their cause.

“The earthquake data collected by the TexNet Seismic Network will help us better understand the seismic hazard and risk to the people and infrastructure of Texas,” Rathje said.