Corsicana Daily Sun, Corsicana, Texas

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December 5, 2012

Mystery tremors puzzle experts

Not confirmed earthquakes

Corsicana — Reports of earthquake-like tremors starting Tuesday afternoon and continuing until early Wednesday can’t be confirmed as true earthquakes, but experts can’t say what it is, either.

“We started getting calls at 3:09 p.m. (Tuesday),” said Eric Meyers, Navarro County Emergency Coordinator. “The first calls were north of Corsicana in the Hickory Hollow area with two separate residents out there reporting unusual tremors being felt along with a rumbling type of noise.”

After checking with the U.S. Geological Survey website, Meyers also checked with the National Weather Service and state emergency management offices.

“About two hours later, approximately five o’clock, there were additional reports in the same area of heavier tremors, the same vicinity, the same residents,” Meyers said. Another report came from the western part of the county, near Navarro Mills.

After the second round of reports, Meyers posted it on Facebook and suddenly there were more reports, but coming from all over, including Streetman, Purdon, Pursley and Dawson. Some of the reports came from as far away as Freestone and Limestone counties. The line runs about 50 to 60 miles long, and the tremors didn’t act like any other thing except perhaps earthquake booms, which are shallow sometimes undetectable tremors similar to what’s been happening locally.

The range and the description of houses “popping” and shaking didn’t seem to fit anything, including the disturbances reported around fracking drill-sites.

“This is an unexplained event likely of a natural origin,” Meyers said. “We can’t come up with a point of origin or a cause or explanation of why this is happening.”

Still, the National Earthquake Information Center, part of the U.S. Geological Survey, located in Golden, Colo., didn’t see anything on its monitors, according to Don Blakeman, an earthquake analyst at the center.

“We had a call earlier, apparently folks have been feeling something out there for about a day, but we couldn’t find anything, we didn’t see anything on our records,” Blakeman said. “That doesn’t mean something hasn’t happened, but we don’t know what it is.”

If the tremors had been as large as the small quakes that took place around Dallas they would have been detected on their equipment, Blakeman said.

“Little earthquakes don’t automatically trigger the computer’s earthquake location,” he said. “If we have an exact time, though, we can scan the records for it.”

Many tremors aren’t necessarily earthquakes but can have man-made causes, both men said.

“We were trying to determine what was going on, any type of military exercises at a higher level than locally, we worked on this throughout the night and we eliminated everything we could think of and continued to do some through today,” Meyers said.

“We went through the process of elimination on what it could be and ruled out all these different things,” he said. “Whatever it was hasn’t occurred since 4 a.m. Wednesday. It’s unusual, to say the least.”

     —————

Janet Jacobs may be reached via e-mail at jjacobs@corsicanadailysun.com. Want to “sound off” to this article? E-mail: Soundoff@corsicanadailysun.com

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