Last fall, the small North Texas town of Azle and surrounding areas northwest of Fort Worth were struck by at least 27 mild earthquakes since Nov. 1. Today at noon on 'Think', we'll be speaking with SMU seismologist Brian Stump and Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Lisa Song of Inside Climate News on the effects the quakes have had on the community and their possible link to hydraulic fracturing or fracking.
Since the earthquakes struck, residents and state officials have been meeting to determine their root cause. Debates have sparked over whether the quakes were natural or manmade.
While researchers are being careful about jumping to conclusions, some residents point to the oil and gas production in the area as the primary culprit of the quakes. NPR's StateImpact recently compiled a list of studies linking quakes to drilling activity.
In May, the chairman of the Texas House Committee created the Subcommittee on Seismic Activity to study the small earthquakes that have occurred adjacent to oil and gas production wells around the state.
Catch up on the situation in Azle and Reno via our own Doualy Xaykaothao's ongoing coverage, including the first story in a new series called "What's Behind The North Texas Quakes?"
Xaykaothao sits in as guest host for this hour of Think. Stump joins her as one of the SMU researchers studying the seismic activity in North Texas over the next two years. The team is investigating whether the earthquakes are directly related to the oil and gas drilling wells in the area.
Song won the a Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting in 2012 for her part in "The Dilbit Disaster" about the little-known oil spill in the Kalamazoo river in 2010. She's also won the 2012 John B. Oakes award for Distinguished Environmental Journalism.
On Wednesday June 18 at 7 p.m. KERA and StateImpact Texas will also be hosting a free public event to explore the issues surrounding the quakes and their impact on the community at the Azle High School Auditorium.
Listen to 'Think' at noon and 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday on KERA 90.1 or stream live.