CARLSBAD — Downtown Carlsbad merchants were asking each other “Did you feel that?” Wednesday afternoon, after a pair of earthquakes shook parts of southern New Mexico.
The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) reported a magnitude (M) 5.3 earthquake at about 2:30 p.m. centered in Toyah, Texas, just over the Texas – New Mexico border.
About 45 minutes later, an M 2.6 quake was reported centered in the same location.
The first earthquake was reportedly felt as far west as Las Cruces and as far north as Alamogordo.
Jennifer Armendariz, emergency services director for Eddy County, said there were no issues or damages reported, including power outages, as of 2:55 p.m.
Outside Treasured Moments, a shop in downtown Carlsbad on Canyon Street, owner Catherine Shelton said she was putting up Christmas lights when her ladder and store front began to shudder.
“Everything started shaking and rattling,” she said. “I thought maybe they were doing heavy construction.”
She said she felt the quake for about 30 seconds, quickly climbed off her ladder and ran outside to see if anyone else felt it.
Others from local businesses were out on the street checking in with each other following the earthquake, Shelton said.
She retired from the Carlsbad Police Department’s dispatch office where she said she fielded many calls over the years of purported earthquakes, but never experienced one herself.
“Everybody came out to confirm if we felt it,” she said. “They asked me if I was okay. I’ve lived here my whole life, and I’ve never felt it before.”
Clarissa Mendoza, assistant manager at Bennie’s Western Wear next door to Shelton, lived in Carlsbad 15 years before feeling an earthquake.
It happened while she was taping up a poster at the shop.
She said she’s heard of them happening lately, but Wednesday’s incident was the first one Mendoza felt for herself.
“The windows were shaking and everything,” she said. “I’ve never really experienced an earthquake before. It was kind of scary.”
Further down the street at Cone Jewelers, sales associate Gwen Gadbury said her and her coworkers were shocked to see their clocks rattling on the walls, along with 12-foot trees at the front of the storefront.
“I’m the one that freaked out,” she said. “Everything was rattling. It’s crazy. Definitely a lot of shock.”
Another sales associate at the store Yesenia Mejia said she was “shook” and saw people pulling over in their cars as the earthquake continued.
“I was scared,” she said. “It was definitely adrenaline.”
This is a developing story and will be updated.
Series of earthquakes reported over three days at Texas/New Mexico border
Six earthquakes were reported in Mentone, Texas Nov. 15 ranging from M 1.9 and M 2.3 on the Richter scaler.
And a day earlier, Nov. 14, two were reported in the same area measuring M 2.1 and M 2.4.
The Wednesday earthquake was the largest reported in the region in the last two years, records show.
The largest before was an M 5.0 reported near Mentone, Texas on March 26, 2020, records show.
Earthquakes at M 4 or greater are typically felt by humans, according to the USGS, as M 5 or greater can result in property damage.
Since 2020, the USGS reported there were 31 earthquakes of M 4 or higher reported throughout the Permian Basin region spanning from southeast New Mexico to the Midland-Odessa area of West Texas.
Follow Jessica Onsurez on Twitter at @JussGREAt and Adrian Hedden at @AdrianHedden.