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Energy and Environment

New Seismic Monitoring Station Set Up At WSU's Biological Field Station

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One of the four new seismic monitoring stations that have been established in south-central Kansas is at the Wichita State University Biological Field Station. Three more stations will be ready by the end of the month.

Last fall, Governor Sam Brownback appointed a task force to study Kansas' increased earthquake activity.

The U.S. Geological Survey documented 124 earthquakes in Kansas from January 1 to Dec. 24, 2014, mostly in Harper, Sumner and Barber counties. That's up from 32 in 2013 and zero in 2012.

Rick Miller with the Kansas Geological Survey says the magnitude of the earthquakes has also increased.

The state's current seismometers are 20 years old and borrowed from the University of Missouri. New seismometers, costing a total of about $85,000, have been ordered and will eventually replace the older equipment.

Besides the station at the WSU Biological Field station, the others will be located south of Sun City and near Hardtner, in Pratt, Arkansas City, Kingman and Wellington. They will monitor seismic activity for six months to a year.

The Kansas Geological Survey will analyze data from the stations to pinpoint earthquake epicenters and better determine faults to develop an earthquake response plan.

A permanent network of six monitoring stations that will detect and locate earthquakes of a magnitude greater than 1.5 eventually will be deployed across Kansas.