Putting last night's earthquake into perspective

KREM 2's Amanda Roley investigates how Spokane was able to feel Montana's earthquake and generally gives us perspective on the earthquakes.

SPOKANE COUNTY, Wash --- Montana has bigger earthquakes that hit more often than Spokane.

Montana’s earthquake activity is concentrated mostly in the mountainous western third of the state, which lies within the Intermountain Seismic Belt. Unlike Spokane’s shallow earthquakes, the one that hit last night in Lincoln, Montana went about eight miles deep.

Compared to Spokane, Montana has bigger earthquakes that hit more often. About 16 earthquakes with a magnitude greater than five have hit Montana over the last century, said geologist Tom Frost.

Frost said that a 5.8 magnitude earthquake is a substantial one.

Last night was not the first time Spokane has felt a Montana quake. In 1959, a major earthquake occurred near Hebgen Lake in Montana with a magnitude of 7.2. Why were we able to feel this earthquake?

“It boils down to magnitude, the depth and what’s going on in the vicinity. Like if you’re sitting in traffic, you’re more likely to feel the earthquake,” said Frost.

The earthquakes might be bigger in Montana than in Spokane but Frost said they are just as unpredictable.

© 2017 KREM-TV


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