DALLAS - A minor earthquake and an aftershock minutes later rattled the western suburbs of Dallas overnight, but authorities reported no damages or injuries and a major airport close to the epicenter continued with normal flight operations.
An initial quake measuring a preliminary magnitude of 3.4 struck at 11:05 p.m. CDT Saturday and was centered about 2 miles north of the Dallas suburb of Irving, the US Geological Survey's national earthquake monitoring center in Golden, Colo., reported. USGS Geophysicist Randy Baldwin told The Associated Press from Colorado that the initial quake lasted several seconds and appeared strong enough to be felt up to 15 or 20 miles away.
He said a smaller aftershock at an estimated 3.1 magnitude occurred about four minutes later, just a few miles from the first temblor in an area west of Dallas.
The Colorado center's online reporting system received more than 1,200 online responses from people who felt the ground shudder. "Of all the reports we've received there were no intensities of a damaging nature. We haven't heard of any kind of damage and it's probably too small for that," Baldwin added.
Authorities in Irving said they were still checking their area early Sunday but had no immediate reports of any significant impact.
The Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport continued operations normally even as the quake surprised those at the airport partially located in Irving's city limits, airport public affairs officer David Magana said. He told AP said the airport, which bustles at peak hours because of 1,800 daily departures and arrivals, was in a quiet period with very little air traffic late Saturday night.
But he said those at the airport definitely felt the ground shake.
"I wouldn't call it panic. I would call it surprise," Magana said.
He said members of the airport operations team inspected landing strips, buildings and other airport installations but reported no damage.
"There were no impacts or outages and no disruptions to flights," Magana said. "I felt it at my house. It shook it a little bit but it wasn't enough of a jolt to shake anything loose like you have in California. I've been in California and this was nothing like that."
Some reports in Dallas said the rattling was felt for many blocks all around Irving, beginning lightly and ending with a jolt. One person reported the quake was strong enough to knock open some file cabinets.
Baldwin said more aftershocks are possible Sunday, noting the region has been periodically rattled by small quakes including a swarm of minor temblors in 2008. He also said preliminary magnitude estimates of the quake and aftershock could be revised after further study of the data because the seismological station is located about 65 miles from the initial epicenter, somewhat distant for precise readings.