Magnitude 3.1 Earthquake Recorded in SW Montana Early Friday
The United States Geological Survey recorded a number of small earthquakes that occurred just before 1 am Friday morning (12/17) near Three Forks, MT. The strongest quake registered 3.1 and was detected at 12:53 am.
The quake's center was 3 miles north of Three Forks.
The 3.1M quake in the rolling hills east of US Hwy 287 was preceded by two smaller 2.3M earthquakes in the same general area during the overnight hours. Smaller tremors were also recorded in the past 24 hours around Dillon and West Yellowstone.
A guest at a Three Forks motel reported feeling the quake.
The Travel Lodge by Wyndham (near the intersection of US Hwy 287 and I-90) is located a couple of miles from the epicenter. Staff said that a guest reported feeling the overnight quake. The night clerk I spoke with said she slept right through it, adding that she's "usually sensitive to earthquake activity." An employee at the nearby Town Pump said none of her overnight staff mentioned noticing the relatively tame earthquake. The Gallatin County Sheriff's office did not receive any calls about the quake.
Earthquake activity is not uncommon in Montana.
In August we wrote about the more than 1,000 earthquakes that happened in July 2021 in Yellowstone National Park. The park is obviously a hotspot for geological activity. Thankfully, most earthquakes in Montana are relatively small. A notable exception is the 1959 earthquake in the Madison Valley near Hebgen Lake. 80 million tons of rocks and material fell, killing 28 and creating Quake Lake, since renamed Earthquake Lake.
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