Sunday, January 24, 2010

Kansas' Largest Earthquake

Just read that central Oklahoma (where I lived before moving to Kansas) had another small earthquake this morning - 3.7 in the Jones, OK area.  In reviewing the technical info on this quake from a USGS site, I traveled over to the Kansas site out of curiosity (Kansas Earthquake Info) and looked at the largest quake (of record) to hit Kansas - a 5.1 quake that struck the Riley County Area (Manhattan, KS) on April 24, 1867.  This quake is noted here because its USGS record has 3 references to water as follows:

This earthquake inflicted several minor injuries, cracked walls, and loosened stones from buildings. At Manhattan, a 0.6-meter wave was observed moving south to north on the Kansas River. Chimneys were downed in Louisville (Pottawatomie County) and Leavenworth. One side of a large building that houses a newspaper office was knocked down at Paola, south of Kansas City, in Miami County. East of Manhattan, the earth opened and ejected much water on a farm about 5 kilometers south of Wamego.  Additional minor damage occurred in Iowa at Dubuque (plaster fell); in Kansas at Junction City (a well being dug was destroyed),..
It's comforting to know that there has been little earthquake activity in Kansas since 1990 - I count only 13 or so.  (Map from the same USGS site linked above).  Now tornadoes - quite a different matter!


  1. I live in Salina, KS and I have been telling everyone that I can feel the shaking while I am laying down. No one else except for one friend can feel it. While I tried to take a nap this morning I felt it as soon as I laid down. It is happening now, as I write this. Weird thing about this time is that it woke me up. I was actually dreaming it was happening again and in the dream I woke up and looked out the window to see the ground cracking open slowly about 150 yards ESE of our house. And yes it did wake me up for real. And I jumped on the computer to research the seismic activity in Kansas, which brought me to your website. I have never heard of earthquakes happening in Kansas. Kinda creeps me out because our foundation on our house is failing. I can't believe that more people don't feel it. I am interested in obtaining more information on the seismic activity in Kansas. Could you point me in the right direction?

  2. Robin:

    Try the USGS site:

    There is also a twitter account for earthquakes at: However, this site only reports quakes of 2.5 magnitude or higher.

    Also, the Kansas Geological site ( might also have some info.

    Normally earthquakes are of short duration - a few seconds to a minute or so. Sounds like what you are feeling is a more constant shake (vibration?). If this is the case, I'd be looking for some other source.

    Good luck.