Historical Seismicity of the Texas Panhandle from an Examination of Lubbock Station Records

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Acharya, J. Healey

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Seismicity data concerning the Texas Panhandle area have been compiled from two general sources: instrumental data and felt reports. Felt reports date back to 1907 in this area. However, instrumental coverage has been poor, and the station at Lubbock is the only seismic monitoring station within 100 miles of the Palo Duro Basin. Due to the lack of any adequate instrumental seismic monitoring of the area, it is conceded that many earthquakes in this area may have gone undetected or unreported.

Film chips from Lubbock Station for the period 1963-1980 were examined to identify all earthquakes that had occurred in the Texas Panhandle. Film chips of known events were also used to aid investigators in identifying characteristics of signals from earthquakes occurring in the Panhandle.

This examination identified 40 earthquakes that occurred within approximately 360 km of Lubbock during 1963-1980. These 40 earthquakes were not recorded by many stations and were, therefore, not located earlier. First motion amplitude and direction on all three components were measured for these earthquakes. Earthquakes which occurred north of Lubbock were identified on the basis of azimuth computation and were then approximately located using the time interval between the arrival of P and S phases. The study shows that the area north of Lubbock station, including the Texas Panhandle, is an area of low seismicity.

The examination of records of Lubbock Seismographic Station suggests two to three earthquakes per year within about 360 km of Lubbock. An examination of seismicity of the salt areas of Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Kansas by Racine and Klouda (1980) suggested a rate of one earthquake a day. The rate of activity in the vicinity of Lubbock Station is clearly much lower than in the salt areas of Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Kansas.


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