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Recent earthquakes may not be of natural causes

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Wichita, it was (KSNW) – You’ve probably felt one of the last earthquakes in Wichita this month. There were more than ten. The Kansas Geological Survey says the evidence shows it may be manmade.

“If this happens, why is that?” Said Rick Miller of the Kansas Geological Survey. “But from a seismic perspective, it did not have natural properties.”

Miller says small earthquakes have been occurring in Wichita since the early 20th century. Most of them are just too small to be felt. He added that the latest swarm of earthquakes could come from water injection wells within a 15-mile radius of recent earthquake centers.

The fifth earthquake struck Wichita on Sunday evening

Kansas Independent Oil and Gas Operators (KIOGA) were involved. “This is definitely one world and its perspective at the moment,” said Ken White of White Exploration. “We need to find out more.”

White is also a KIOGA Representative with the Kansas Corporation.

The Kansas Foundation Committee has choked off some wastewater injections along the Kansas / Oklahoma border in recent years after some large earthquakes in Sumner and Harper counties. “Very quick to come to any hard and fast conclusions about what happened here in Wichita,” White said.

White says there isn’t much wastewater being pumped into the area where the recent earthquakes originated.

Miller says they study and collect data. “And then when the events (the Wichita earthquakes) happened in March, this kind of event led to their outbreak because now you can look at them in terms of probabilities,” he said. Miller added, “The probability of the existence of this large number of events, the 17 events in this time period compared to the previous three, outside the scope of our recursive relationship to seismic activity as it is currently being studied.”

The fifth earthquake struck Wichita on Sunday evening

Purely from a statistical study of earthquakes in northeastern Wichita, Miller says that natural causes are likely not a cause. “If you only look at it through statistics, the odds of it being a natural sequence are very low,” Miller said. “It does not run in past data.”

KIOGA representatives say they believe further study is not only justified, but also welcome.

White says there are Type Two wells used by oil, gas and other industries in the Wichita region. “But there are not many of those who are active in the (earthquake) area,” he said.

White added that there are Type 1 wells from manufacturing and other industries that inject wastewater.

The Kansas Geological Survey expects to have a report for the KCC and the Ks. Department of Health and Environment about earthquakes. “So we’re continuing to study this and the datasets that we have available,” Miller said.

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