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Earthquakes in West Texas have dramatically increased, according to new University of Texas study



Every year West Texas experiences more and more small earthquakes. The study by the University of Texas at Austin documented more than 7,000 starting in 2009.

West Texas has seen a dramatic increase in earthquakes, jumping from 19 in 2009 to 1,600 in 2017 alone, according to a new study published Monday by the University of Texas at Austin.

The study, which was published in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth, tracked nearly 20 years of seismic activity. The scientists documented more than 7,000 earthquakes near Pecos starting in 2009, most of them so small that no one felt them. The scientists used an earthquake monitoring system that was “some distance” from Pecos but sensitive enough to pick up vibrations 150 miles away.


“West Texas now has the highest seismicity rates in the state,” co-author and Souther Methodist University Associate Professor Heather DeShon said in a written statement. “What remained uncertain is when the earthquakes actually started. This study addresses that.”

While earthquake activity coincided with a large increase in oil and gas production in West Texas, the study does not try to link the two.

The research lays the groundwork to understand “the relationship between earthquakes and their human and natural causes,” Peter Hennings, the study’s co-author and a research scientist at the UT Bureau of Economic Geology, said in a written statement.

West Texas has seen oil and gas production increase at unprecedented rates, aggravating air pollution and leading to a housing crunch, according to a 2018 joint investigation by The Texas Tribune and Center for Public Integrity.



Disclosure: The University of Texas and Southern Methodist University have been financial supporters of The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan news organization that is funded in part by donations from members, foundations and corporate sponsors. Financial supporters play no role in the Tribune’s journalism. Find a complete list of them here.

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Greece elects first woman president



Greece's parliament on Wednesday elected the first woman president in the country's history, a senior judge with an expertise in environmental and constitutional law.

A cross-party majority of 261 MPs voted in favour of 63-year-old Ekaterini Sakellaropoulou, parliament chief Costas Tassoulas said.

"Ekaterini Sakellaropoulou has been elected president of the republic," Tassoulas said.

The new president, until now the head of Greece's top administrative court, the Council of State, will take her oath of office on March 13, he added.

The daughter of a Supreme Court judge, Sakellaropoulou completed postgraduate studies at Paris's Sorbonne university.

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I spent MLK Day reading Stephen Miller’s racist emails — here’s why



Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is in the pantheon of American heroes. He is honored with a national holiday. For those of us who write about American politics, life and society it is expected – rightly or wrongly – that on King's designated holiday we offer a comment, essay or some other thought about his legacy.

The expectation is even greater for black Americans and other nonwhites. Brother King was and is a gift to all Americans — and, yes, the world — but black people are the most direct beneficiaries of his struggle.

Every year brings more writing about King's legacy and the work which remains. Interviews and talks will be given. Brother King will be quoted. The "I Have a Dream Speech" and the March on Washington will be obsessively referenced by the mass media and others. Of course, the "Jobs and Freedom" part of the march will be left out.

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Trump pushed for a sweetheart tax deal on his first hotel — it’s cost NYC $410,068,399 and counting



In 1975, New York City was run-down and on the verge of bankruptcy. Twenty-nine-year-old Donald Trump saw an opportunity. He wanted to acquire and redevelop the dilapidated Commodore Hotel in midtown Manhattan next to Grand Central Terminal.

Trump had bragged to the executive controlling the sale that he could use his political connections to get tax breaks for the deal.

The executive was skeptical. But the next day, the executive was invited into Trump’s limousine, which ushered him to City Hall. There, he met with Donald’s father Fred and Mayor Abe Beame, to whom the Trumps had given lavishly.

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