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Lewis & Clark County

Apr 23, 2014 2:21 PM by Dennis Bragg - Missoula

Small earthquake rumbles near Lincoln

MISSOULA -- The U.S. Geologicial Survey says a small earthquake near Lincoln on Wednesday morning registered a magnitude of 3.5.

The Montana Bureau of Mines & Geology in Butte recorded the quake at 8:41 this morning about four miles east-southeast of Lincoln.

That puts the epicenter about 35 miles northwest of Helena.

The quake was at a moderate depth of 9.9 miles beneath the surface.

Geologists are still checking into the quake but say it may have been felt around Helena and as far west as Seeley Lake.

There have been no reports of damage or injuries.

Montana is one of the most seismically-active states; the vast majority of earthquakes are minor, primarily of interest only to geologists and researchers.

But occasionally, Montana earthquakes can be larger - and deadly. In 1935 there were a series of earthquakes between Yellowstone and Helena that killed four people and caused more than $4 million dollars worth of damage. The 1959 "Hebgen Lake" earthquake in Montana killed 28 people, and caused more than $11 million dollars worth of damage.

According to Michael Stickney, director of the Earthquake Studies Office at the Montana Bureau of Mines & Geology, four to five small earthquakes happen in the Treasure State every day, but most can't be felt.

Stickney said, "There is a seismic belt, known as the Intermountain Seismic Belt, that passes through the western one third of the state. Small earthquakes are very common within this zone, which runs more or less from Yellowstone Park up to about Flathead Lake."

Click here for more information at the USGS website.

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