July 6, 2017 4:31 am
Updated: July 6, 2017 7:22 pm

Western Montana rattled by strong earthquake felt in southern Alberta

WATCH: A magnitude 5.8 earthquake hit Montana on Thursday, with people as far north as Calgary saying they could feel shaking.


The strongest earthquake to hit Montana in more than half a century sent bartenders jumping over bars, food falling off grocery store shelves and woke up residents and dogs. It was even felt as far north as Calgary.

There were no immediate reports of injuries or serious damage from the magnitude-5.8 earthquake that hit early Thursday, but the eight patrons at the Wilderness Bar in Lincoln headed for the doors as stools and glass bottles started falling over.

“I just jumped over the bar and pretty much landed in a guy’s lap,” bartender Sheri Deluca told the Great Falls Tribune.

At the nearby Wheel Inn Tavern, bartender Lisa Large said the power went out and bottles flew off the shelves.

“It slopped all the grease outta the fryer,” she told the Missoulian.

“The kitchen’s a mess right now.”

Food was knocked off grocery store shelves in Lincoln and Helena.

WATCH: A rare earthquake jolted Montana overnight, with its impact being felt in Alberta, shaking counters, beds and walls in Lethbridge. Matt Battochio reports.

Story continues below

Mike Stickney, a seismologist at the Earthquake Studies Office with the Montana Bureau of Mines and Geology in Butte, said the quake was probably the strongest in Montana since October 1964 and was located along the axis of the intermountain seismic belt.

Stickney does not believe the quake was seismically linked to the recent swarm of more than 1,100 smaller earthquakes in and around Yellowstone National Park over the past two weeks.

The initial earthquake’s epicenter was about 6 miles (10 kilometres) southeast of Lincoln, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. A magnitude 4.9 quake rattled the same general area about five minutes later.

The USGS noted seven other quakes ranging from magnitude 3.5 to 4.4 in the area over the next four hours. Three others followed, with the most recent being a magnitude 3.7 quake at 9:27 a.m.

The USGS received reports of people feeling the initial earthquake throughout Montana and into Idaho, Washington, Wyoming and Canada.

Ray Anderson, 76, told The Associated Press that it was the strongest seismic activity he had ever felt while living in Helena, which is about 34 miles (54 kilometres) away from the quake’s epicenter.

He said his wife told him the temblor woke up the dogs.

Musician John Mayer, a part-time Bozeman resident, took to Twitter to marvel at the event.

“Wow,” he wrote on Twitter. “Earthquake in Montana.”

There have been more than 70 quakes measuring larger than 4.5 in Montana and parts of Wyoming and Idaho since 1925, according to the USGS. The largest quake in Montana history was magnitude 7.2 near West Yellowstone in 1959.

Calgary residents feel the shake: ‘I didn’t think Calgary could get earthquakes’

Calgarian Shelley Harley, who lives in the community of McKenzie Lake, told Global News it was shortly after midnight on Thursday when she felt the earthquake.

“I was actually on my iPad and had the TV off … and then all of a sudden I felt the couch that I was sitting on start shaking and moving.”

“I looked around and I thought ‘that’s kind of weird’ and I looked up and noticed that my TV was shaking.”

“It was enough that the couch was moving, and I was moving and the TV was moving… I actually felt sort of off-kilter.”

Harley said she didn’t understand what was causing her home to shake.

“I even looked outside to see if it was the wind.”

“This is really strange. It feels like everything is shaking and moving.”

“I was in an earthquake once in Mexico many, many years ago but I’ve never experienced anything like this in Calgary,” she said.

“I didn’t think Calgary could get earthquakes. I didn’t even think that it was an earthquake.”

Harley said the shaking lasted about eight to 12 seconds.

“I know now that we can feel earthquakes here in Calgary.”

— With files from Dallas Flexhaug and Melissa Gilligan

© 2017 The Associated Press

Report an error


Want to discuss? Please read our Commenting Policy first.