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Two earthquakes detected near Old Faithful Geyser Saturday night, early Sunday morning

3.2, 3.5 magnitude earthquakes detected
Posted at 2:54 PM, Dec 16, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-16 16:54:18-05

Two small earthquakes were detected near Old Faithful Geyser, the first occurring Saturday night followed by another early Sunday morning.

A magnitude 3.2 quake hit at 7:29 p.m. Saturday approximately 14 miles northeast of Old Faithful, according to the United States Geological Survey (USGS). The depth of the quake was about 2.1 miles.

At 5:32 a.m. Sunday, USGS detected a 3.5 magnitude quake approximately 15.5 miles west, southwest of Old Faithful. The second quake occurred at a depth of 9.9 miles.

MTN News has not received any reports of injuries or extent of damage at this time. We will update this story with any new information as we get it.

BACKGROUND: According to the USGS, Montana is one of the most seismically-active states in the country, although the vast majority of recorded earthquakes are very small, causing no damage and rarely noticed by people.

Montana is located within the Intermountain Seismic Belt, an active earthquake region stretching along the Rocky Mountains. It is the fourth-most seismically active state, although the vast majority of earthquakes in Montana are too small to be felt.

But there are exceptions. About 90 years ago, a large earthquake hit southwest Montana. The quake damaged a school house in Three Forks, twisted railroad tracks along the Missouri River, and damaged a jail in White Sulphur Springs.

Ten years after that another big quake hit Helena, killing two people and causing millions of dollars in damage. It damaged churches, collapsed walls right out of homes, and hit commercial and government buildings as well.