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UH Moment

UH Moment: “Earthquake Fault Lines”

You may feel steady on your feet, but research from a UH geology professor found more than 300 fault lines around the Bayou City. Hear about it in UH Moment.


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Stories of shaky ground may be more prevalent in other parts of the country, but University of Houston assistant professor of geology Shuhab Khan has mapped more than 300 fault lines criss-crossing the Houston area.

“If you are driving on Interstate Highway 10, you have a bump before Beltway 8, and that’s a fault,” Khan said.

Funded by the Environmental Institute of Houston, Khan and Ph.D student Richard Engelkemeir refined data from the U.S. Geological Survey. Khan used ground penetrating radar to see the underground faults and GPS data to measure the rate of displacement. The majority of the faults are in the southeast Harris County near existing salt domes, and points northwest near Highway 6 and IH 10. Khan says there’s been a groundswell of interest in the research.

“From homeowners to city and county officials to sometimes people contacting us from Denver, Colorado or Alaska because they think this is an innovative technique, and they want to apply this to other areas,” he said.

Currently, he is mapping fault lines in Fort Bend County.

Earthquake audio courtesy of Freesound.