The quake, and a series of aftershocks, woke up people in Montana — and were reported to have been felt in Eastern Washington.
LINCOLN, Mont. — An earthquake strong enough to rouse sleeping residents more than 30 miles from its epicenter struck western Montana early Thursday.
A magnitude 5.8 earthquake hit just after midnight about 6 miles southeast of Lincoln, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. There were no injuries reported.
At least a dozen aftershocks, including two magnitude 4.8 quakes, also shook the region Thursday morning, according to the USGS.
Residents in Lincoln briefly lost power and there was a gas leak in Helena, the National Weather Service in Great Falls said on Twitter.
The Independent Record reports that people felt the quake as far away as Bozeman, Idaho, and Great Falls. People even farther away, including Spokane, Washington, also felt the shaking, according to the USGS’s self-reporting system.
Mike Stickney, seismologist at the Earthquake Studies Office, Montana Bureau of Mines and Geology on the Montana Tech campus in Butte, told the Independent Record that the quake could have been the strongest in the state since October 1964.
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The epicenter of the quake is “along the axis of the intermountain seismic belt” on a vertical strike/slip fault, he added. Stickney does not believe the quake is seismically linked to the recent swarm of more than 1,100 smaller earthquakes in and around Yellowstone National Park over the past two weeks.
At the Wilderness Bar in Lincoln, eight bar patrons headed for the doors as stools and glass bottles started falling over.“I just jumped over the bar and pretty much landed in a guy’s lap,” bartender Sheri Deluca told the Great Falls Tribune.
At the nearby Wheel Inn Tavern, bartender Lisa Large said the power went out and bottles flew off the shelves.
“It slopped all the grease outta the fryer,” she told the Missoulian. “The kitchen’s a mess right now.”
Food was knocked off grocery store shelves in Lincoln and Helena.
Ray Anderson, 76, tells The Associated Press that it was the strongest seismic activity he had ever felt while living in Helena, which is about 34 miles away from the quake’s epicenter.
He said his wife told him the temblor woke up the dogs.
Musician John Mayer, a part-time Bozeman resident, took to Twitter to marvel at the event.
There have been more than 70 quakes measuring larger than 4.5 in Montana and parts of Wyoming and Idaho since 1925, according to the USGS. The largest quake in state history was magnitude 7.2 in 1959 near west Yellowstone.