Home > Departments > Development Services > Gas Well Drilling

Seismic Testing

Seismic testing uses sound technology to help locate formations containing natural gas buried deep within the earth without disturbing the surface. Seismic surveys have been completed in many Fort Worth neighborhoods since 2007.


Under regulations adopted in 2011, seismic operators must obtain a street-use permit and notify the city, affected school districts and homeowners associations 15-30 days in advance of testing. Affected property owners must be notified three to 10 days ahead of testing. Operators must describe the process of seismic surveying and testing and must provide:

  • When testing will start
  • Duration of testing
  • Telephone and email contacts for the contractor
  • A city contact and website address.

Seismic testing is allowed only from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday-Friday and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday. Testing is not allowed on Sundays or city holidays.

View the Seismic Testing Guidelines for more information.

About Seismic Surveying and Testing

The first phase of this process is to conduct a 3D Seismic geophysical survey. Surveyors walk the area with a GPS locator in a backpack to identify locations to place receiver lines and source points. These locations will either be marked with a flag or spray paint mark in the easement or right of way.

Approximately two to four weeks later, you will see cable lines that usually run along the curb, geophones, and data boxes. The cable is approximately the size of a household extension cord.

Testing equipment is temporary – remaining in place for three to six weeks – and takes up minimal surface space. The cables, geophones, and data boxes carry no electrical current, and they do not penetrate the surface of the ground.

After testing equipment is in place, a seismic testing vehicle about the size of a large pickup truck will send a sound wave into the earth. Small vibrations may be felt and sound like construction is taking place nearby.


For emergencies, dial 9-1-1. For Gas Well complaints call our 24-hour number at 817-392-1427, or call the Police Department non-emergency line at 817-392-4222.

View staff and drilling company contacts.