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Magnitude-3.9 earthquake wakes up Wichita

Published: Dec. 30, 2020 at 5:30 AM CST
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - The Kansas Geological Survey reported a magnitude 3.9 earthquake in Wichita. The earthquake shook the city just after 5 a.m. Wednesday morning.

This earthquake is considered to be the largest in five years in the city.

Dr. Rick Miller with KGS didn’t give a specific cause for the earthquake but noted the city does sit on a fault line, making earthquakes common.

Wednesday afternoon, Eyewitness News spoke with retired Wichita State University Geology Professor Dr. Sal Mazzullo who said he believes unmapped faults are moving in east Wichita. He said there are several reasons why a fault would “wake up,” but there is no volcanic activity in Wichita nor wastewater being disposed of due to fracking. With that, he offered clarity on what he said is the most viable option.

‘Because the earth’s crust is broken up into a series of plates. The North Atlantic plate is moving toward us. Pressure builds up, and it could build up 3,000 miles from where the pressure started,” Dr. Mazzullo explained.

For now, the retired professor said he doesn’t believe there is anything to worry about concerning the recent earthquake activity in Wichita. Still, Wednesday morning’s earthquake, the largest recently recorded on the town’s east side was strong enough to startle people across the city awake.

“The whole house shook, paintings fell off the wall, and I said, ‘I guess it’s time to get up,’” said Phil Mershon who lives near the epicenter of Wednesday morning’s earthquake, in a neighborhood near Douglas and Rock Road.

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