Kansas Geological Survey explains recent western Kansas earthquakes

Local News

LAWRENCE, Kan. (KSNT) — Another earthquake has hit central Kansas Monday, making it the fifth earthquake in the past week.

Scientists at the Kansas Geological Survey track the patterns of earthquakes all around the state and said that earthquakes don’t have a timeline – its a matter of pressure buildup.

“In the central part of the country where we are, you don’t have these large structures that are moving so its all a matter of forces being pressed against the rocks until they finally fail,” said Rick Miller, a senior scientist at KGS.

Earthquakes are measure using the Richter scale. The higher the number, the more devastating the earthquake. The ones in Kansas this past week were all under 3.5, meaning they are all considered minor earthquakes.

“For every ten magnitude two’s you should have 100 magnitude ones,” Miller said.

They tend to occur in particular areas much more frequently than people realize. Miller also said central Kansas can expect 20 to 30 per year because it’s on a fault line running through the middle of the state.

“It’s a very large structural system and it has enough faulting on it,” Miller said. “Historically it’s an area we would expect to see earthquakes.”

In 1867, the largest earthquake in Kansas occurred near the same area along the same fault line. It was a 5.1 magnitude and it was centered near Manhattan.

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