Historic Earthquakes

Manhattan, Riley County, Kansas
1867 04 24 20:22 UTC
Magnitude 5.10
Intensity VII

Largest Earthquake in Kansas

This earthquake inflicted several minor injuries, cracked walls, and loosened stones from buildings. At Manhattan, a 0.6-meter wave was observed moving south to north on the Kansas River. Chimneys were downed in Louisville (Pottawatomie County) and Leavenworth. One side of a large building that houses a newspaper office was knocked down at Paola, south of Kansas City, in Miami County. East of Manhattan, the earth opened and ejected much water on a farm about 5 kilometers south of Wamego.

Additional minor damage occurred in Iowa at Dubuque (plaster fell); in Kansas at Junction City (a well being dug was destroyed), Kansas City (plaster was shaken down), Lawrence (several stones were knocked off a church), Olathe (roof shingles were knocked to the ground), and Wamego (walls were cracked and plaster was broken); and in Missouri at Chillicothe (plaster fell from ceilings), St. Joseph (walls of new school house were cracked), and Warrensburg (plaster fell from ceiling). This earthquake is one of the important shocks that define the Midcontinent seismic trend. Also felt in Indiana and Illinois.

The felt area shown in the Kansas hypocenter list (500,000 square kilometers) is based on information in the original source reference, which states that the earthquake was felt only in the territory east of the epicenter. Information on this shock is sparse for the region west of the epicenter, and so the felt area given is only a rough estimate.

Abridged from Seismicity of the United States, 1568-1989 (Revised), by Carl W. Stover and Jerry L. Coffman, U.S. Geological Survey Professional Paper 1527, United States Government Printing Office, Washington: 1993.