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Small earthquake strikes near Lincoln

Posted at 10:27 AM, Apr 17, 2018
and last updated 2018-04-17 12:27:20-04

A 4.3 magnitude earthquake rumbled near Lincoln on Tuesday morning.

The small quake happened at about 5:11 a.m., according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

It was centered about eight miles east-southeast of Lincoln at a depth of 6.2 miles.

The event was followed about 30 minutes later by a smaller 2.7 magnitude quake that was centered just south of the larger quake.

There have been no reports of injuries or damage.

According to the USGS website, people reported feeling it in Lincoln, Wolf Creek, Helena, Copper Canyon, and as far away as Butte.

The quake Tuesday was the largest since a series of earthquakes rattled the area on July 6, 2017, when a 5.8 magnitude earthquake happened just after midnight. That was followed by three other quakes between 4 and 5 magnitude.

The July 6, 2017, earthquake was the largest in more than 10 years and hit about five miles southeast of Lincoln.

BACKGROUND: According to the USGS, Montana is one of the most seismically-active states in the country, although the vast majority of recorded earthquakes are very small, causing no damage and rarely noticed by people. 

Montana is located within the Intermountain Seismic Belt, an active earthquake region stretching along the Rocky Mountains. It is the fourth-most seismically active state, although the vast majority of earthquakes in Montana are too small to be felt.

But there are exceptions. About 90 years ago, a large earthquake hit southwest Montana. The quake damaged a school house in Three Forks, twisted railroad tracks along the Missouri River, and damaged a jail in White Sulphur Springs. 

Ten years after that another big quake hit Helena, killing two people and causing millions of dollars in damage. It damaged churches, collapsed walls right out of homes, and hit commercial and government buildings as well.

There was also the deadly 1959 earthquake that created "Quake Lake" and shook West Yellowstone. It claimed the lives of 28 people and did the equivalent of $89 million in damage.