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Strong earthquake hits western Texas; buildings shake in San Antonio

A strong 5.3 magnitude earthquake struck western Texas on Wednesday afternoon. Image courtesy of <a href="https://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/eventpage/tx2022wmmd/dyfi/intensity">U.S. Geological Survey</a>
A strong 5.3 magnitude earthquake struck western Texas on Wednesday afternoon. Image courtesy of U.S. Geological Survey

Nov. 17 (UPI) -- A strong earthquake that hit western Texas was felt hundreds miles away in San Antonio, where officials at a local college canceled classes Wednesday night after the temblor caused one of its campus' buildings to sway.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the quake struck at 3:32 p.m. Wednesday at a depth of 5 miles about 24 miles west-southwest of Mentone, a Loving County unincorporated community with a population of 10 near Texas' northern border with New Mexico.

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The temblor registered at a magnitude of 5.3, making it potentially one of the strongest to hit the state in modern history. According to a list of notable Texas earthquakes compiled by the Texas Almanac, Wednesday's would be the fourth largest since 1923.

State Rep. Eddie Morales Jr., whose district includes Mentone, said he has spoken with local and state officials about the earthquake.

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"At this time, there are no reported injuries or damage," he tweeted. "Officials will be inspecting roads, bridges and other infrastructure as a precaution."

According to the USGS, people reported experiencing the earthquake as far as 400 miles away in Dallas and San Antonio, and nearly 600 miles away in Houston.

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The earthquake prompted officials at San Antonio College to evacuate its Moody Learning Center and cancel class for the remainder of Wednesday after buildings on the campus began to shake.

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"It was four or five buildings, so the decision was made to get everybody out," Ken Slavin, San Antonio College's director of marketing and strategic communications, told the San Antonio Report. "People were definitely feeling it in the buildings, but not all of them.

"And I don't think that's unusual with earthquake activity, it's almost like with a tornado, one building can be demolished, and the house next door is fine."

According to the USGS, there have been more than 1,000 earthquakes of magnitude 2.5 and larger to have struck within 31 miles of Wednesday's temblor in the last two decades with the largest having been a magnitude 5 that struck on March 26, 2020.

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"Over the past two decades, the central and eastern United States has experienced an increase in the occurrence of earthquakes," the USGS said. "Scientific studies have linked much of this increase to human activity, predominantly wastewater injection into deep disposal wells."

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