The University of Kansas

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Survey scientists help in Hutchinson


At the request of Gov. Bill Graves, scientists from the Kansas Geological Survey, based at KU, traveled to Hutchinson to help city officials determine the source of the gas fires that continue to burn in that city.

In a letter issued Jan. 29, Graves directed the survey to “assess the scope, location and sources of natural gas tapped beneath the city of Hutchinson.”

Lee Allison, director of the Survey, said a seismic reflection crew of about eight scientists and technicians headed Jan. 30 to Hutchinson to help determine the source of the gas fires.

“The fire continues to burn in downtown Hutchinson after two weeks,” Allison said. “But they don’t know where it’s coming from. The concern is that there may be some specific, narrow pathway — like a buried river channel, fracture zone or salt solution cavern — that is allowing the gas to travel to Hutchinson from the Yaggy gas storage field.”

To determine how the gas is traveling, the scientists will use a “thumper truck,” which releases shock waves into the ground from a large metal plate. The waves bounce off of geological features and are reflected back to the surface, enabling scientists to map the subsurface.

Allison said the crew, considered one of the best seismic reflection teams in the nation, has postponed a previous commitment with the U.S. Army in Yuma, Ariz., in order to meet the governor’s request.

The mission of the Kansas Geological Survey is to conduct geological studies and research, and to collect, correlate, preserve and disseminate information leading to a better understanding of the geology of Kansas, with special emphasis on natural resources of economic value, water quality and quantity, and geologic hazards.


February 2, 2001
Vol. 25, No. 10

• Clicking a new course
• Software makes online instruction a reality
• Online expert offers workshop
• Employees receive tuition aid
• KU makes jump in science research rankings
• Foundation to honor Ivins with citation
• ‘Talk of the Nation’ host to speak at KU
• Survey scientists help in Hutchinson
• Meetings set with Lied Center finalists
• KU publicity efforts receive regional honors
• Attendance up at Spencer art museum
• KU awards technology funds
• Monday Message
• Education dean search narrows
• Employees receive monthly honors

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