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A rare moderate‐sized (Mw 4.9) earthquake in Kansas: Rupture process of the Milan, Kansas, earthquake of 12 November 2014 and its relationship to fluid injection

November 16, 2016

The largest recorded earthquake in Kansas occurred northeast of Milan on 12 November 2014 (Mw 4.9) in a region previously devoid of significant seismic activity. Applying multistation processing to data from local stations, we are able to detail the rupture process and rupture geometry of the mainshock, identify the causative fault plane, and delineate the expansion and extent of the subsequent seismic activity. The earthquake followed rapid increases of fluid injection by multiple wastewater injection wells in the vicinity of the fault. The source parameters and behavior of the Milan earthquake and foreshock–aftershock sequence are similar to characteristics of other earthquakes induced by wastewater injection into permeable formations overlying crystalline basement. This earthquake also provides an opportunity to test the empirical relation that uses felt area to estimate moment magnitude for historical earthquakes for Kansas.