5.8 Earthquake in Montana Felt for Hundreds of Miles

A map shows seismic activity around the site of a 5.8 magnitude earthquake that struck in western Montana early Thursday.
U.S. Geological Survey

An earthquake with a magnitude of 5.8 startled many people out of their sleep in western Montana early Thursday. The shallow quake was felt for hundreds of miles from its epicenter southeast of Lincoln, including in parts of neighboring states and in Canada.

“We have no reports of injuries due to the earthquake at this time,” member station Montana Public Radio reports. “Shockwaves are still being felt with decreasing intensity in parts of western Montana.”

Thursday’s earthquake was the strongest to hit western Montana in years; it was slightly stronger than a 5.6 magnitude quake that hit a nearby area in July of 2005, the U.S. Geological Survey says.

Some alarmed residents said via Twitter that they woke to fears that an intruder was in their house; others said their dogs had seemed to sense the oncoming quake — and jumped on their owners to seek safety.

“It was strong enough to wake people up across a wide area, and was felt along a line more than 500 miles long, from Billings to Spokane, Wash.,” Montana Public Radio’s Eric Whitney reports for our Newscast unit.

Residents reported waking to the sound of pans clattering around and the feeling of their houses being shaken.

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SOURCE: NPR, Bill Chappell