SW Mont. Town Experiencing Uptick in Seismic Activity
There are a few different locations in our region that experience quite a bit of seismic activity, with many smaller earthquakes occurring frequently. Yellowstone National Park, Lincoln, Mont. and Manhattan, Mont., often show up on the USGS earthquake map throughout the year.
Most of the tremors in these spots measure somewhere between insignificant and what many people would consider mid-sized, or just under 5.0 on the Richter scale.
Earlier this year, on Feb. 21, an earthquake centered in Manhattan shook the Gallatin Valley in the middle of the night. This quake jarred many folks from their sleep and was described by some as sounding like a freight train passing by.
That earthquake was only 3.8 in scale, but was relatively shallow in depth at only two miles below the surface, which is why social media was buzzing the next morning with tales of the shaking.
Since that night there have been a few more quakes of 2.5 or more centered near Manhattan, but now a different southwest Montana town is all of the sudden seeing an uptick in seismic activity.
Lima, Montana, just north of the Idaho border, can now be added to the list of places where earthquakes measuring 2.5 or more are becoming a regular occurrence.
From what we can tell, between 2014 and the end of 2018, Lima felt nine different quakes measuring at least 2.5 on the Richter scale. But now in 2019 that area has already experienced seven earthquakes of 2.5 or more, including a 4.6 in April.
Shortly after that 4.6 quake, Lima Mayor Dave Olson described the quake to us as sounding like "a sonic boom."
Is all of this activity in the region part of the normal cycle of earthquakes or is something else brewing under the surface? Only time will tell.