A magnitude 5.8 earthquake struck Montana about 40 miles northwest of Helena on the morning of July 6 at about 2:30 a.m. It knocked out power in the small town of Lincoln some 5 miles north of the epicenter and caused minor property damage, but no injuries, according to Lewis and Clark County Sheriff’s Office. It was the biggest earthquake in the state since 1975.
Most services were restored within two hours.
“Isolated rock slides were reported on Fletcher and Stemple Pass, but they have since been cleared,” the Sheriff’s office stated.
The earthquake knocked bottles off the shelves at the Wheel Inn Tavern in Lincoln, said bartender Lisa Large, according to Independent Record.
“It slopped all the grease outta the fryer,” she said. “The kitchen’s a mess right now. The lights have been out and they just came back on. Hopefully we don’t get any more aftershocks.”
So far, the earthquake has been followed by at least nine aftershocks, according to National Weather Service in Great Falls.
The broader area has been hit by 16 earthquakes of a magnitude greater than 5 over the past century, according to U.S. Geological Survey. But the July 6 one was the biggest in the state since 5.9 magnitude earthquake hit West Yellowstone in 1975.
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The largest one happened in August 1959—the magnitude 7.2 Hebgen Lake earthquake that triggered a landslide, killing 28, and caused significant damage. The epicenter was in Wyoming, but the impact reached deep into Montana. The closest one to the area of the July 6th earthquake hit in 1925, at a magnitude 6.9, around 100 km to the southeast. It caused significant damage, but no fatalities. The most recent one was a magnitude 5.6 earthquake in July of 2005, causing minor damage in the surrounding region, the survey said.