Earthquakes

Earthquakes in McKinney


A severe earthquake striking near the City of McKinney is not very likely, but the possibility of experiencing a distant earthquake’s effects are still there. The numerous earthquakes that occurred in Oklahoma in November of 2011 have illustrated this, as effects from those earthquakes were felt around the North Texas region. However, this is no indication that dormant fault lines in Texas are awakening and becoming active again.

As defined by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), an earthquake is a sudden, rapid shaking of the earth caused by the release of energy stored in rocks. As an earthquake occurs, seismic waves are transmitted in all directions causing the vibration or ground motion commonly experienced during this type of event. Seismic waves are grouped into three types:
  • P (primary) waves are the first waves to cause ground motion and travel through the earth’s interior at approximately 150,000 mph (39,000 km/h)
  • S (secondary or shear) waves travel slower than P waves and produce the most damage by forcing structures to sway from side to side
  • Surface waves are the slowest of the three waves, travel along the earth’s surface, and contribute the most damage to high-rise buildings
Magnitude
Description
Earthquake Effects
Frequency of Occurrence (Worldwide)
Less than 2.0
Micro
Micro earthquakes, not felt
Continual
2.0-2.9
Minor
Generally not felt but recorded
1,300,000 per year (est.)
3.0-3.9
Minor
Often felt but rarely causes damage
130,000 per year (est.)
4.0-4.9
Light
Noticeable shaking of indoor items, rattling noises. Significant damage unlikely
13,000 per year (est.)
5.0-5.9
Moderate
Can cause major damage to poorly constructed buildings over small regions. At most, slight damage to well-designed buildings
1,319 per year
6.0-6.9
Strong
Can be destructive in areas up to about 99 miles (160 kilometers) across populated areas
134 per year
7.0-7.9
Major
Can cause serious damage over larger areas
15 per year
8.0-8.9
Great
Can cause serious damage in areas several hundred miles across
1 per year
9.0-9.9
Great
Devastating in areas several thousand miles across
1 per 10 years (est.)
10.0+
Massive
Never recorded, widespread devastation across very large areas
Extremely rare (unknown / may not be possible)

As with any other hazard, it is important to have your emergency supply kit stocked and up to date. Take this opportunity to prepare by visiting our Emergency Supply Kit webpage for more information.

For more information on protective measures for an earthquake event, please visit the Ready.gov earthquake information page.

For general information about earthquake size and occurrence, please visit the U.S. Geological Survey’s website.