Opinion Columns & Blogs

Why are there more earthquakes in Sedgwick County?

Wichita Eagle

The number of earthquakes in Kansas dropped dramatically after the state imposed restrictions on the disposal of wastewater from oil and gas drilling. So why have there been more earthquakes originating in areas of the state that don’t have many disposal wells – including Sedgwick and Reno counties? The likely reason, geological officials told the Hutchinson News, is that it takes time for the underground pressure caused by the wastewater injections to dissipate, and some of this pressure may be migrating across county boundaries. “We’ve seen more (earthquakes) creeping into southern Sedgwick County and a broadening of seismicity into areas where there is not a lot of high-volume disposal,” said Tandis Bidgoli of the Kansas Geological Survey. Officials aren’t sure how long it could take for this built-up pressure to subside, but we could be in for a bumpy ride. – Phillip Brownlee