(By Staff Reports/Chewelah Independent)
Chewelah feels the shaking from hundreds of miles away…
An earthquake in Lincoln, Montana (northwest of Helena) shook the ground for hundreds of miles on Wednesday night, being felt as far away as Eastern Washington and Billings. The magnitude of the earthquake was 5.8 on the Richter Scale
Lincoln has a population of just 1,100 people and was at the epicenter of the quake.
An earthquake of that magnitude can cause damage to poorly constructed buildings but as most, none to slight damage to all other buildings. Quakes like these are very easily felt by people. Stores in Montana dealt with products falling off of shelves. According to the National Weather Service, residents in Lincoln briefly lost power and there was gas leak in Helena. No injuries were reported.
After the initial quake, the USGS reported at least nine aftershocks ranging in magnitude from 4.9 to 3.1.
In Chewelah, which is 318 miles away, swaying and other ground movement was felt by residents after 11:30 p.m.
“Felt like I was on a train in my own living room for a good 15 or so seconds,” Linzi Jeleniowski said on Facebook to The Independent.
Chewelah residents reported furniture swaying, things falling off shelves or mistaking the shaking for something entirely else.
“Just felt that a few minutes ago, thought I was having a dizzy spell. I was laying in bed and the bed acted like it was moving. I hope everyone who felt it or was in it are okay and safe,” said Rebecca Cooley to the Independent.
“I just thought it was my kids being rowdy, so I yelled at them to knock it off and woke them up,” wrote Meadow Johnson.
Some people even blamed their pets.
“Thought it was my cat bouncing on the bed at first. Nope!,” Shelly Rae wrote.
“Maybe that’s why my cat fell out of bed,” Julie Billington wrote.
Since it happened at night many people slept through quake as well.
Earthquakes felt in Chewelah are not a common occurrence. The 6.8 magnitude 2001 Nisqually earthquake in Seattle was felt in town. Further inland in Montana muted seismic activity has happened. There has been more than 70 quakes larger than 4.5 in Montana and parts of Wyoming and Idaho since 1925, the Spokesman-Review reports. The largest quake in Montana state history was a magnitude 7.2 in 1959 near west Yellowstone.
This earthquake was the strongest to hit the state in years, larger than a 5.6 magnitude quake that hit is the same area in 2005.
The fault line is called the Lewis and Clark line which runs from North Idaho to east of Helena. The most recent earthquake of note in Idaho that was felt in Spokane was a 1983 quake near Challis Idaho.
Spokane experienced its own quakes in 2001 when a swarm of minor tremors, with the strongest being a 4.0, occurring mainly on the north side of town, the Spokesman reports.
Wednesday night’s earthquake occurred 230 miles from Yellowstone National Park, prompting some speculation about a possible super-volcano eruption under the park. These fears, however, were blown out of proportion as the Yellowstone Volcano Observatory reported normal activity under Yellowstone. The park normally has 1,000 earthquakes a year.