CONWAY SPRINGS, Kan. – An earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 4.8 shook parts of Kansas and Oklahoma on Wednesday, the largest since a series of temblors began rattling Kansas a little more than a year ago.
The quake’s epicenter was near the town of Conway Springs, about 25 miles southwest of Wichita, according to the U.S. Geological Survey said. It came at 3:40 p.m., less than a day after a magnitude 2.6 earthquake was recorded near the southern Kansas town of Anthony.
Kansas Emergency Management spokeswoman Sharon Watson said the only reported damage was from an uprooted tree that cracked a home’s foundation. No damage was reported in Oklahoma, said Keli Cain, a spokeswoman at the state’s Department of Emergency Services.
Just 15 miles from the epicenter, farmer Scott Van Allen was taking a break with a friend while remodeling his garage in Clearwater when the walls and ground began shaking. It was the first earthquake he could recall feeling.
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“It was a little spooky,” Van Allen said.
In Oklahoma, Andrea Hutchison was in a state Senate committee room at the Capitol discussing property rights issues with lawmakers and others. “I felt the earth move,” Hutchison, of Canton, Oklahoma, said.
Kansas began experiencing an upsurge in earthquakes starting in fall 2013. So far in 2014, the state has experienced more than 90 earthquakes, with the smallest registering only on monitors, said Interim Kansas Geological Survey director Rex Buchanan.
Studies have shown earthquakes can be caused when fluid, which is byproduct of various methods of oil and gas production, is injected into disposal wells. But a panel commissioned by Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback found there wasn’t enough evidence to link the Kansas quakes to oil and gas exploration.