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You weren't imagining it: San Antonio felt that West Texas earthquake

U.S. Geological Survey

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For some people on Wednesday afternoon, it started with a strange trembling from the floor, a computer monitor shivering, or slight vibrations in a glass partition. It ended with some fascinated chatter, emails between friends, or swipes through social media accounts to figure out what just happened.

But for others in San Antonio, the 5.4 magnitude earthquake that struck West Texas around 3:30 p.m. was felt so intensely that they were evacuated from buildings and classrooms.

As a precaution, San Antonio College cleared out the Scobee Planetarium, Moody Learning Center, Chance Academic Center, Oppenheimer Academic Center, and the Student Advocacy Center. It later canceled classes for the rest of Wednesday.

Bexar County officials inspected their facilities and found no problems. There were no immediate reports of any injuries or damage in the city or county.

However, a statement from University Health on Thursday explained that "structural engineers have determined the Robert B. Green historical building downtown is unsafe."

Officials sealed off the 100 year old building, the statement added, and a safe zone was established until next steps were determined. Administrative services usually conducted in the building were relocated to other buildings.

Since 2013, medical services have been housed in the new Robert B. Green clinical building, officials said, and the quake did not affect that facility.

KUT reported on Wednesday that shaking was felt in the Austin area. Lubbock also felt the trembling.

The earthquake was the strongest of 2022 so far, and it may have been among the strongest felt in the Lone Star State since the mid-1990s.

The U.S. Geological Survey confirmed the quake was centered in an area near the oilfield towns of Pecos and Orla, near the Texas-New Mexico border.

In recent years, the area has been a hotbed of smaller earthquake activity.

The Texas Railroad Commission, which regulates the oil and gas industry, said on Thursday that it sent inspectors to the region.

Oilfield earthquakes can be triggered by companies injecting wastewater from drilling operations back into the ground.

Regulators said they have monitored the area for some time now. It's part of an ongoing, industry-led plan to reduce earthquakes there.

The Railroad Commission has at times shut down oilfield operations in other parts of West Texas because of a rise on the frequency of earthquakes.

Marfa Public Radio's Travis Bubenik and KUT's Andy Jechow contributed to this report.

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