USGS: 4.2 Magnitude Earthquake Rattles Kansas, Damage Reported

August 16, 2019 Updated: August 16, 2019

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) reported that a 4.2 magnitude earthquake rattled Kansas on Friday, Aug. 16.

According to local news outlets, damage was reported in some areas near the epicenter.

The USGS said that the quake was 3 miles south-southwest of South Hutchinson, Kansas.

Hutchinson resident Alice Hinnen told KWCH that items fell from her shelves.

She said it was the strongest quake she has ever felt while living in Kansas. Hinnen added that she also felt an aftershock.

Jake Goertz, of South Hutchinson, tweeted: “Earthquake lasted a good 20 seconds here. I have felt four aftershocks.”

“Our office building in Hutchinson experienced a loud boom like an explosion followed by about 2 seconds of fairly strong shaking,” wrote local Bob Colladay.

According to KWCH, a number of people across Kansas and Oklahoma reported feeling the tremor.

“Yes, we felt the earthquake in Hutchinson USD 308. All our students and staff are safe. At this point, our staff have seen minor damage but are surveying our buildings. Again, students and staff are safe,” wrote Hutchinson Public Schools on Facebook.

Cory Wilson told KAKE-TV: “My wife is reporting damage on Hutch main street. She ran outside afraid the building would collapse…this was HUGE.”

“Window fell out on main Street in hutch,” Leslie McGarraugh said.

In the KAKE-TV article’s comments section, people reported feeling at least three aftershocks following the initial tremor.

Quakes East of Rockies Felt More Intensely Than In West

While most of North America east of the Rocky Mountains has infrequent earthquakes, there are hotspots of intense quake activity.

Experts at the USGS say areas like the New Madrid seismic zone centered on southeastern Missouri, or the Charlevoix-Kamouraska seismic zone in New England, or the New York—Philadelphia—Wilmington urban corridor, are hotbeds of seismic activity. But they add that aside from these several areas, the region from the Rockies to the Atlantic can go years without an earthquake large enough to be felt.

The USGS points out that while earthquakes east of the Rockies are less common than in the West, they are typically felt over a much broader region.

“East of the Rockies, an earthquake can be felt over an area more than ten times larger than a similar magnitude earthquake on the west coast,” the USGS says.

“It would not be unusual for a magnitude 4.0 earthquake in eastern or central North America to be felt by a significant percentage of the population in many communities more than 100 kilometers (60 miles) from its source. A magnitude 5.5 earthquake in eastern or central North America might be felt by much of the population out to more than 500 kilometers (300 miles) from its source.”

What Causes Earthquakes?

“An earthquake is caused by a sudden slip on a fault,” the USGS writes. “The tectonic plates are always slowly moving, but they get stuck at their edges due to friction. When the stress on the edge overcomes the friction, there is an earthquake that releases energy in waves that travel through the earth’s crust and cause the shaking that we feel.”
Epoch Times reporter Tom Ozimek contributed to this report.