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Disposal wells suspected of causing central Kansas earthquakes

Aug 21, 2019 |

Original article can be found here.

The two strong earthquakes followed by several smaller aftershocks in central Kansas in the past several days have some people pointing fingers at wastewater disposal wells.

Two of the earthquakes had magnitudes greater than 4.0 in Reno County and the city of Hutchinson. KWCH channel 12 TV reported the magnitude-4.2 quake from Friday and the magnitude-4.1 quake Sunday have people across central Kansas, especially the Hutchinson area, looking for answers.

One possible cause for the earthquakes is wastewater from injection wells. Currently, the Kansas Corporation Commission (KCC) is investigating this among the possibilities.

Reno County officials say they’re also working with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) to determine a cause. They hope to have that answer in the next few days.

For one Hutchinson resident who used to live in California, the recent, relatively small earthquakes are something he can endure. But, he says he may start to worry if larger, more intense earthquakes start to more frequently register in the area.

“As long as they stay at (magnitude) 4.2 or 4.5, we’ll be fine,” he says. “If they get any bigger than that, we may have a problem.”

The KCC and USGS hope to have all their information gathered within the next few days, allowing them to officially determine the recent earthquakes’ cause.

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