5.8-magnitude earthquake hits Montana, felt across the region

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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.

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, making it a fairly strong earthquake. It said the earthquake struck at a depth of just 2.6 miles, which will have increased the intensity of the shaking.

Residents across a large area reported feeling the 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

“Shook the house and beds. Lasted for about 6 or 7 seconds [and] had an aftershock that lasted about 3 seconds. Pretty wild!,” one resident in the town of Craig told EMSC. Another resident, in Wolf Creek, said: “Strongest [earthquake] I have ever felt with an aftershock a few minutes later.”

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.

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