Q&A: Geophysicist Discusses Kansas Earthquakes

Jun 24, 2016
Marcin Wichary, flickr Creative Commons

Residents in Oklahoma and Kansas have become accustomed to a new reality: earthquakes. They range from so small they’re only detectable by scientific instruments, to so powerful they can crumble brick walls.

Justin Rubinstein, of the United States Geological Survey, has been studying the tremors in this region and determining what’s causing them. The California-based geophysicist sat down with KMUW's Sean Sandefur.

Kool Cats Photography, flickr Creative Commons

In Oklahoma, now the country's earthquake capital, people are talking nervously about the big one as man-made quakes get stronger, more frequent and closer to major population centers. Next door in Kansas, they're feeling on firmer ground though no one is ready yet to declare victory.

Kool Cats Photography, flickr Creative Commons

After at least a dozen earthquakes hit an area of northern Oklahoma in less than a week, the state commissions that regulate Oklahoma’s oil and natural gas industry asked some injection well operators to reduce wastewater disposal volumes.

The Kansas Division of Emergency Management is urging Kansans who want to help the recovery in Oklahoma to make cash donations.