2 earthquakes rattle West Texas; largest is magnitude 5.0

Two earthquakes centered near the same remote area of West Texas have rattled the region

EL PASO, Texas -- 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.