Austin, Texas, is known for its Graffiti museum, fun nightlife, and larger-than-life buildings. But if you are looking to move there, you may wonder, are there earthquakes in Austin, Texas?
Since Austin, Texas, is adjacent to a tectonic plate but not on its boundary, it does experience earthquakes as a result of its proximity.
Earthquakes occur all over the United States annually. If you want to locate to Austin, keep reading to learn how much they truly affect this beautiful city.
How Often Does Austin, Texas, get Earthquakes?
Before closing on a home or signing a lease, it is important to understand how often Austin, Texas experiences earthquakes.
Below is a chart to illustrate the number of earthquakes Austin, Texas, has experienced over the past twenty years.
|Magnitude (Strength)||Date of Occurrence|
|3.5||October 30, 2022|
|3.6||June 16, 2019|
|3.5||January 6, 2018|
|2.9||September 3, 2015|
|3.5||November 12, 2011|
|4.8||October 20, 2011|
|3.9||April 7, 2008|
|4.1||April 9, 1993|
|3.6||July 20, 1991|
Unlike California or Alaska, Austin, Texas, experiences an earthquake once every few years. This is part of the reason why Texas homes are so expensive.
Is Austin, Texas on a Fault Line?
Since Austin, Texas, experiences earthquakes, many people automatically assume it is on a fault line. The assumption is correct, as Austin sits on an ancient fault line.
Austin, Texas, sits on the ancient Balcones fault line. This faultline has had ample activity in the past but is now considered dormant by geologists worldwide.
The Balcones fault line has not been in motion for over 10 million years. So while Austin experiences earthquakes, it is not the direct result of the fault line.
How Severe are Earthquakes in Austin, Texas?
If the thought of a few earthquakes occurring in Austin hasn’t scared you away from moving to this location, you will likely look into the intensity and magnitude of the quakes next.
On average, Austin, Texas, experiences earthquakes of a 3.7 magnitude earthquake on the Richter Scale.
A 3.7 magnitude earthquake is considered mild. It is equivalent to 20,000 sticks of dynamite exploding. This means that people close to the earthquake’s epicenter will feel it.
The Richter Scale ranks earthquakes by magnitude using the following number system:
|Number on Scale||How Destructive|
|9||Devastating destruction. Can cause tsunamis, loss of life, and extreme damage. Can be felt worldwide.|
|8||Critical destruction. Causes loss of life and structures and can result in a storm surge or tsunamis.|
|7||Severe destruction. Can be felt worldwide.|
|6||Moderately destructive, will cause damage all around the epicenter, not limited to buildings.|
|5||Moderately destructive. This will affect buildings and weak structures in the immediate area.|
|4||Equivalent to the blast of a small fissure bomb. It will destroy the epicenter of the earthquake.|
|3||People near the epicenter or originating location of the earthquake will feel it. Minimal destruction.|
|2||People may notice this earthquake, but it is low in intensity.|
|0-1||Not destructive; people cannot feel these.|
According to the Richter Scale, Austin, Texas, doesn’t suffer from earthquakes that cause devastating destruction but can cause some problems.
Are There Earthquakes in Other Areas of Texas?
If you are uninterested in moving to Austin but looking at other options, you will likely wonder if there are earthquakes in other Texas towns and cities too.
All parts of Texas experience earthquakes. Some areas experience larger earthquakes than others.
Cities With the Least Earthquakes
If you are looking to locate in Texas in an area that gets the least amount of earthquake activity, consider looking at the following locations:
- Corpus Christi
- Fort Worth
These cities are considered locations that are least likely to experience earthquakes. This is because they are far away from active fault lines and active tectonic plates.
Cities With the Most Earthquakes
If you are a thrill seeker and prefer to live in an area with earthquakes, the following cities are the most likely to experience an earthquake:
- El Paso
- San Antonio
These locations are closer to active fault lines or tectonic plates that are live and active. They also have the most earthquakes recorded in Texas history.
What to do if There is an Earthquake
When you are warned of a pending earthquake by the news or feel one occurring, follow these steps as quickly as possible:
- Drop. Drop down onto your hands and knees. This prevents you from suffering a fall at your full height.
- Cover. Cover your head and neck with your hands or under a sturdy surface. It is ideal to try to crawl under a desk or kitchen table to protect your entire body.
- Hold on. Hold on to your head or the sturdy furniture nearby until the shaking stops. This will prevent you from being thrown around and injured.
Earthquakes can be dangerous if you do not handle the situation properly.
Keeping yourself safe and avoiding falling debris is the best way to weather out an earthquake.
Although earthquakes are dangerous, Austin, Texas, is not home to the most devastating quakes in the world. Practice proper safety precautions, and make the move. It’s worth it.