Expert says earthquake likely came from little-known fault
By: Zach Tecklenburg
5:57 PM, Nov 7, 2011
KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Many in the Kansas City area are still talking about what they felt Saturday night. A 5.6 magnitude earthquake, centered in Oklahoma, sent waves all the way up to Kansas City.
Adam McGinnis felt it in his Olathe home and on Monday, it was the talk of his Overland Park office.
"I really just thought it was me kind of hallucinating and a little bit because maybe because I had too many Red Bulls," said McGinnis.
All over the metro, almost everyone has a story. It has earthquake experts like University of Missouri-Kansas City geology professor Tina Niemi talking as well.
"Largest earthquake recorded in Oklahoma," she said.
Niemi believes this quake, centered northeast of Oklahoma City, is related to the Humboldt fault line. It starts near Oklahoma City, runs through eastern Kansas and up to Omaha.
"They're not frequent, but they happen," said Niemi.
With a magnitude of 5.6, Kansas City escaped damage. Even so, Niemi said local residents should be prepared. She looks to 1867, when a Humboldt fault line earthquake struck. It was centered near Manhattan.
"It brought down chimneys in the Kansas City area," said Niemi.
She said it could happen again.
"It's important that communities and facilities are prepared for these types of damaging earthquakes that could occur," said Niemi.
Relatively little is known about the Humboldt fault line. However, Niemi said the earthquake will provide better insight.
"This buried structure has the potential of producing a similar type of event anywhere along it," said Niemi.
Niemi said it is difficult to know the impact on the New Madrid fault, which runs through southeastern Missouri. She said little research has been conducted on an earthquake's impact to a different fault.