published Sunday, September 30th, 2012

3.4 magnitude quake recorded west of Dallas

DALLAS — A minor earthquake measuring a 3.4 magnitude rattled a suburb west of Dallas overnight, but there were no immediate reports of any damages or injuries and a major international airport nearby continued operations without disruption, authorities said.

The quake struck at 11:05 p.m. CDT Saturday and was centered about 2 miles north of the Dallas suburb of Irving, the US Geological Survey’s national earthquake monitoring center in Golden, Colo., reported. USGS Geophysicist Randy Baldwin told The Associated Press by telephone from Colorado that the quake lasted several seconds and was strong enough to be felt near the epicenter and probably up to 15 or 20 miles away.

He said the quake’s online reporting system received no reports of any damages or injuries, but was flooded with some 1,200 online responses from people who felt it. “Of all the reports we’ve received there were no intensities of a damaging nature. We haven’t heard of any kind of damage and it’s probably too small for that,” he added.

Authorities in Irving said early Sunday they were still checking their area but had no immediate report on the quake or any impact.

The Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport continued operations normally during and after the quake, which barely rattled nerves at the airport located partially within the city limits of Irving, said airport public affairs officer David Magana. He told AP said the airport, which bustles at peak hours to get some 1,800 flights in and out daily, was in a quiet period with very little air traffic late Saturday night.

But he said those still in the airport definitely felt the quake.

“I wouldn’t call it panic. I would call it surprise,” Magana said.

He said members of the airport operations team immediately conducted a special inspection of the airfield, buildings and found nothing harmed by the quake.

“We don’t have any damage to report. There were no impacts or (power) outages and no disruptions to flights,” Magana said. “I felt it at my house. It shook it a little bit but it wasn’t enough of a jolt to shake anything loose like you have in California. I’ve been in California and this was nothing like that.”

Some reports in Dallas said the rattling was felt for many blocks all around Irving and the surrounding area, beginning lightly and ending with a jolt. One person reported the quake was strong enough to knock open some file cabinets at a home near the epicenter.

Baldwin says smaller aftershocks are a possibility over the coming day or so, noting that the region has been rattled by a number of minor quakes since 2008.

He said the Saturday night quake was detected by a seismological station located about 65 miles from the epicenter — somewhat distant — and the preliminary magnitude of 3.4 could be revised up or down once further data is evaluated.

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