Officials: Explosion had force of small earthquake

Explosion measured by seismographs, registered 2.1 on Richter scale

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WEST, Texas - The plant explosion in West, Texas had the force of a small earthquake, and was felt 100 miles away, officials said.

People as far north as Dallas felt the Wednesday night's explosion.

The physical damage to the buildings in West, Texas is difficult to comprehend. Comparing the blast to a fertilizer bomb, like the one that blew up the Murrow Federal Building in Oklahoma, City in 1994.

According to the website, a blast like that creates a shock wave that radiates out at the speed of sound, or 760 miles per hour.

That's what caused so much devastation in West. Officials said while the explosion's heat alone can set cars on fire, the pressure wave typically causes the most damage.

The explosion was measured by seismographs monitored by the United States Geological Survey, and registered 2.1 on the Richter scale. People reported tremors from as far away as Plano, north of Dallas. That's 100 miles from the epicenter in West.

Officials said 2.1 earthquakes are small on the seismic scale. They happen daily in the U.S. But for an explosion to mimic a 2.1 earthquake is extremely rare. The explosion in West was the equivalent of 46 pounds of TNT, or 700 large hand grenades all exploding at once.

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