Strong earthquake hits central Kansas

An earthquake with a magnitude of 4.6 rattled central Kansas over the weekend and was strong enough to have been felt in Oklahoma and at least 19 other states.

The U.S. Geological Survey reported it was felt as far east as South Carolina and Ohio, as far west as Utah and Arizona, north into Minnesota and Montana and as far south as Texas. Its epicenter was close to Hutchinson, Kansas according to the Hutchinson News.


In Hutchinson and parts of Reno County, residents reported items toppling off shelves and pictures being knocked askew. Local law enforcement, however, reported no collapsed structures or damages requiring an emergency response.

A gas line break Sunday afternoon, police said, was not related.

Police did report receiving more than a hundred calls to 911 within 10 minutes of the quake. Though some were emergency calls, none of those emergencies were related to injuries or damage from the earthquake.

About 3,160 people went to the USGS website to report feeling the quake, with nearly 3,000 of those in Kansas. The largest percentage, of course, was the 664 people in Hutchinson and South Hutchinson and 737 reporting within Reno County.

The quake was initially reported by some sites as a 5.1 magnitude quake occurring north of town. That was quickly adjusted, however, to magnitude 4.4 in South Hutchinson. There were not multiple large quakes, but just the one.

After about an hour, the USGS adjusted the magnitude it was reporting to 4.5, while the Kansas Geological Survey recorded it as a magnitude 4.6, according to each agency’s website.

It’s also not unusual, he said, for those measurements to be adjusted after the initial event due to the complexities of the calculations, as more data gets analyzed.

The KGS offices at the University of Kansas were closed Monday due to the Martin Luther King holiday, so no information was available on whether any “micro-quakes” occurred before Sunday’s temblor. The KGS website lists the last quake in Reno County occurring Dec. 10. That 2.3 magnitude quake was one of two in December.

The KGS data shows 19 quakes in the county since the last quake that topped 4.0, on Aug. 18, including four that were magnitude 3.0 or larger, which is generally when the public feels tremors.

Sunday’s quake was the largest ever for Reno County, according to USGS data.

Not, however, according to the KGS, which adjusted the magnitudes it had listed for earthquakes occurring in South Hutchinson on Aug. 16 and 18.

KGS amended the Aug. 16 quake, which was originally listed as a 4.2 — and was still the county’s largest quake to date — to a 4.6, which tied Sunday’s. The Aug. 18 event was recalculated from a 4.1 to a magnitude 4.4, the KGS website shows.

Rooks County, which recorded a magnitude 4.8 on June 22, maintains its claim to the state’s largest earthquake in recent history.

Source: Hutchinson News