The city of Dallas got in on the earthquake hysteria Monday. The takeaways: Chances of a significant (5.0 or higher on the Richter scale) quake are small, but we all need to start putting together our emergency kits -- the city recommends we stock them with bottled water, several days' worth of food, a flashlight, a first aid kit, pet food and a battery powered radio -- and begin exercising our long unused duck-and-cover skills, just in case. Oh, and there will be, of course, a task force made up of Dallas and Irving city officials.
How small? According to the USGS, the chances of a 5.0 earthquake hitting North Texas in the next 50 years is about 1-in-400, with even lower likelihoods for bigger rumbles.
The just in case is important, because the data the city used to put together the chart above doesn't account for the introduction of any new factors into an area that might you know, sorta, just maybe cause the ground to shake in areas where that's never happened before.
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Of course, city staff could offer nothing as to what might be causing the earthquakes. Council members did offer a few explanations of their own. Sheffie Kadane, after asking if there was a way to know an earthquake was going to happen beforehand, called the tremors an "act of God." Philip Kingston suggested that maybe the companies doing hydraulic fracturing in North Texas owe Dallas an apology, drawing a chuckle and a "no comment" from Dallas emergency management director Rocky Vaz.