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Earthquake hits northwest of Caldwell for a third time

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2014, at 3:07 p.m.
  • Updated Sunday, March 30, 2014, at 3:10 p.m.

Yes, it happened again.

A light earthquake was recorded shortly after 8 a.m. Tuesday northwest of Caldwell in south-central Kansas – the third quake in less than two months and the second in 29 hours for the same area.

The epicenter of Tuesday’s earthquake, which had a 3.3 magnitude, was about 11 miles northwest of Caldwell in Sumner County, according to the U.S. Geological Survey in Golden, Colo.

A 3.9 earthquake was recorded at the same spot at 3 a.m. on Monday, and a 3.9 quake was recorded there on Dec. 16.

“It’s unusual to have that many so close together in the same location,” said John Bellini, a USGS geophysicst.

He said Tuesday’s earthquake would not be considered an aftershock.

“It’s a separate earthquake,” he said. “Generally, earthquakes of 4 or smaller don’t have aftershocks. If it was a 3.8 and had a 3.3 an hour later, that could be an aftershock. But not a day later.”

No damages have been reported for any of the three earthquakes. Most of reports of those feeling the earthquake came from Anthony and Bluff City, which are in Harper County.

Bellini said he didn’t know why there have been three quakes in a short period of time in the same area.

“We’ll just monitor it as we always do,” he said.

The area has seen increased oil and gas drilling over the last three years. Scientists disagree on whether the drilling causes the earthquakes.

Reach Rick Plumlee at 316-268-6660 or rplumlee@wichitaeagle.com. Follow him on Twitter: @rickplumlee.

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