What Caused An Earthquake In OK To Be Felt In KS?

By: Alicia Myers Email
By: Alicia Myers Email

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Sunday, November 6, 2011

Nearly 20 aftershocks have been felt since Saturday night's 5.6 magnitude earthquake in Oklahoma. It was so powerful, most of KAKEland felt it as well.

The earthquake hit at 10:53, near Sparks, Oklahoma, which is about 45 minutes northeast of Oklahoma City.

"The house started shaking, and I walked in, and I thought it was just a big gust of wind, and it kept shaking, and I said that it was probably an aftershock or an earthquake," said Aric Kick, who felt the earthquake in southeast Wichita.

It was the first earthquake Kick and his family experienced. It was a short moment the storm chaser, who has seen countless tornadoes, says made him feel uncomfortable.

"You can run from a tornado, but at the same time, you can feel the wind change the velocity and all that from where it goes still, but in an earthquake, the whole ground shakes, and there's nothing you can really do but stand and take what it has to give," said Kick.

If the epicenter of the quake was in Sparks, how was Kick's family able to feel it nearly 180 miles away? Paul Caruso with the U.S. Geological Survey compares an earthquake to a bell.

"In California, we have a bell that's full of cracks, and so when we get an earthquake there, it's not felt very widely. It's like a thud," said Caruso.

In Kansas, Caruso says the rocks underneath the ground are very old, plus, Kansas has fewer faults underneath the ground, especially compared to California.

"In Oklahoma and Kansas, the rocks are very consolidated, so they transmit that energy really well. When you hit that bell, it rings," said Caruso.

The 'ring' then spreads waves for miles.

That is a feeling not everyone is ready to experience again.

"It was something we've never felt before, and something we never want to feel again, living in Kansas," said Kick.

Geologists are still trying to determine the cause of Saturday's earthquake. They hope to have more information in the coming weeks.

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