Historic Earthquakes

Near Valentine, Texas
1931 08 16 11:40:22.3 UTC
Magnitude 5.80
Intensity VIII

Largest Earthquake in Texas

In terms of magnitude and damage, this is the largest earthquake known to have occurred in Texas. The most severe damage was reported at Valentine, where all buildings except wood-frame houses were damaged severely and all brick chimneys toppled or were damaged. The schoolhouse, which consisted of one section of concrete blocks and another section of bricks, was damaged so badly that it had to be rebuilt. Small cracks formed in the schoolhouse yard. Some walls collapsed in adobe buildings, and ceilings and partitions were damaged in wood-frame structures. Some concrete and brick walls were cracked severely. One low wall, reinforced with concrete, was broken and thrown down. Tombstones in a local cemetery were rotated. Damage to property was reported from widely scattered points in Brewster, Jeff Davis, Culberson, and Presidio Counties. Landslides occurred in the Van Horn Mountaiins, southwest of Lobo; in the Chisos Mountains, in the area of Big Bend; and farther northwest, near Pilares and Porvenir. Landslides also occurred in the Guadalupe Mountains, near Carlsbad, New Mexico, and slides of rock and dirt were reported near Picacho, New Mexico. Well water and springs were muddied throughout the area. Also felt in parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, and in Chihauhua and Coahuila, Mexico.

Abridged from Seismicity of the United States, 1568-1989 (Revised), by Carl W. Stover and Jerry L. Coffman, U.S. Geological Survey Professional Paper 1527, United States Government Printing Office, Washington: 1993.