A small earthquake shook the area around Thompson Falls at about 3:30 yesterday afternoon.

Mike Stickney with the Earthquake Studies Center at the Montana Bureau of Mines and Geology in Butte, said the quake quake registered a magnitude of 4.0 on the Richter scale.

"The earthquake struck just south of Highway 2 between Libby and Kalispell, about 15 miles south of Happy's Inn," Stickney said. "There have been a number of local people in the area that felt the quake from Libby to Kalispell and points in between."

He said the quake was preceded by a couple of foreshocks that registered around 2.0, but there were no significant aftershocks, and that the quake did not presage any further earthquake activity.

Stickney said the quake did not cause any damage to area homes or businesses.

"At this point the level of shaking would not have caused any damage," he said. "It was considered to be a moderate-sized earthquake . There have been other earthquakes in this region in past years that have been somewhat larger, up to magnitude 4.5 that have not caused any damage, but definitely got everyone's attention."

Stickney said Tuesday's temblor was just a gentle reminder that Montana is earthquake country.