Oil drilling could be the possible cause of earthquakes in Kansas

Capitol Bureau

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – Some Kansans near the Oklahoma state line felt the effects of a 3.7 magnitude earthquake on Wednesday and some residents of Kansas even reported feeling the earthquake more than 50 miles away.

On Thursday, a 2.4 magnitude earthquake was registered in Dickinson County.

Since 2013, Kansas has been experiencing more frequent earthquakes than previously recorded but the cause of these earthquakes may be interesting to you.

According to Director Emeritus of the Kansas Geological Survey, Rex Buchanan, the earthquakes are likely caused by oil drilling.

“During oil and gas production, people also produce a lot of saltwater. It’s down there naturally with the oil,” explained Buchanan. “It gets pumped up to the surface, you separate out the oil, then you have to put that water back into the deep subsurface.”

He continued on to say that the saltwater being put back into the ground could have created the opportunity for stress below the surface and this could cause earthquakes.

Buchanan said that since 2015 the number of earthquakes in Kansas has been going down.

Due to less oil drilling in Kansas, the state will likely continue to experience fewer earthquakes but, he added, that we could be feeling the effects for years to come.


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