A strong earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 5.8 has struck western Montana, with shaking felt as far away as Idaho, Washington, and Canada, officials say. It is the strongest quake to hit Montana in more than 4 decades.
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The earthquake, which struck at 12:30 a.m. MT on Thursday, was centered about 5.9 miles southeast of the town of Lincoln in Lewis and Clark County. This is about 33 miles northwest of Helena and roughly 65 miles from Butte and Missoula.
The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) put the preliminary magnitude of Thursday's earthquake at 5.8 and said it struck at a depth of just 2.6 miles, making it a fairly strong earthquake. It was followed by a 4.9-magnitude earthquake at 12:35 a.m., as well as other aftershocks measuring 4.5 and 3.9.
Residents across a large area reported feeling the initial earthquake, including much of central and western Montana, northwest Wyoming, Idaho, and northeast Washington. Shaking was also felt in some parts of the Canadian provinces of Alberta, British Columbia, and southwest Saskatchewan.
"Quite an eerie and unsteady feeling here in Philipsburg! Woke us up and shook the entire house for several seconds [and] then stopped," Clayton Brown in Granite County said. "A little while later there was a less severe tremor but it still shook the house enough to make noises and now there was just another very short aftershock!"
One resident in the town of Craig told EMSC: "Shook the house and beds. Lasted for about 6 or 7 seconds [and] had an aftershock that lasted about 3 seconds. Pretty wild!" Another resident, in Wolf Creek, said it was the strongest earthquake he had ever felt.
Some minor damage has been reported but there were no immediate reports of injuries.
If the preliminary magnitude holds, it will be the strongest earthquake to hit Montana since June 1975, when a 5.9-magnitude earthquake struck Yellowstone National Park. A 6.9-magnitude earthquake that struck southern Idaho in 1983 was also felt in Montana.
-- Did you feel the earthquake? Let us know in the comments below! --
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