According to the Kansas Geological Survey, just this Monday, a 2.2-magnitude earthquake hit Wichita out of nowhere. Wichita does not usually experience earthquakes, so even this small quake came as a surprise. Earthquakes are caused by tectonic plates and their shifts, right? So how can Wichita, in the middle of Kansas, experience one? Maybe science still has room to grow and expand, or maybe it simply failed to predict this specific quake. No matter what, it came as a shock to Wichitans.
The Kansas town is likely to continue shaking on somewhat of a regular basis. However, there certainly has to be some impetus for an earthquake to even occur in the first place. Whatever it could be is yet another wonder-slash-bother of the Earth itself.
Some scientists appearing before the House Utilities Committee believe that we can not only predict future earthquakes, but stop them from happening entirely. One said, “If we can find what’s causing it, if there is a cause, then we can say we can stop them. If there is no cause that we can find, or if it’s a complex system where multiple things occurred that we never can unravel, then we don’t know.”
As Earthquake Impacts Grow, the Probability of More Instances Increases
Scientists figure there’s a limit to the strength of an earthquake in Wichita. Some estimate that a 4.5-magnitude quake is the theoretical maximum.
Here in particular, there’s a rise in deep subsurface fluid pressure due to gas and oil production. Certainly, some producers are able to attain 18 barrels of saltwater that will be reinserted underground through the deepest of injection wells. 2,500 of these holes happen to be very deeply drilled into an area called the Arbuckle Formation. So much of the disposal happens south of town. Faults become more relevant when faults slip to create earthquakes.