2 earthquakes rattle West Texas; largest is magnitude 5.0

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

The first tremor registered at a magnitude 3.0 early Thursday. The second was a magnitude 5.0 about six hours later, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

“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.

The county is sparsely populated but 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.

“We haven't had calls because it wasn’t that big,” Sparks said of the later, larger quake.

No injuries or major damage was immediately reported in the county, which sits about 30 miles (48 kilometers) from the epicenters of the quakes. The second, stronger, tremor could be felt as far as 150 miles (245 kilometers) away in El Paso, Texas and neighboring Ciudad Juarez, Mexico.