Montana

Apr 27, 2012 11:27 AM by David Sherman - KRTV

Earthquake reported north of Helena

HELENA - The U.S. Geological Survey reports that a magnitude 2.1 earthquake rattled an area north of Helena.

Initial reports place the small quake about 20 miles north of the Helena Valley, and it was recorded at 8:38 pm (MT time).

The quake was registered about 2 miles below the surface.

Viewer Steve Stelling reports that he felt his house in Wolf Creek shake.

There are no reports of injuries or damage.

According to Michael Stickney, director of the Earthquake Studies Office at the Montana Bureau of Mines & Geology in Butte, 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."

While most quakes occur west of the Continental Divide, central and eastern Montana have seen very minor quakes in the past.

A large quake hasn't rocked Big Sky Country in over 25 years, but geologists are confident it'll happen again.

Stickney said, "Although we cannot predict the timing of earthquakes, we know that of the 45 or so potentially active faults in western Montana, that at some point in the future, earthquakes will occur along those faults."

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