String of earthquakes recorded in western Montana


BUTTE, Mont. - Over the last few days four small earthquakes hit towns from southwest Montana to Lincoln.

The most recent was Thursday in West Yellowstone, but experts tell us earthquakes happen daily in Montana.

Mike Stickney is the director of earthquake studies at Montana Tech and has been studying earthquakes for over 35 years.

This week he's been noticing the string of earthquakes in the area.

"Earthquakes don't kill people, buildings do, and that is the most common of injury and death -- falling debris," he said.

According to a report the United States Geological Survey put together, in 2013 Montana had 24 earthquakes over a magnitude 3.0 and ranked No. 5 of 10 states with the most earthquakes.

"Western Montana is a seismically active region. There have been earthquakes noted by people who lived here going back to the 1860s. The earthquakes we record on a daily basis with our network are down in the magnitude of less than one or two -- so small no one would notice," he added.

Montana Tech prepares students for earthquake situations.

"We have a day where they fake earthquakes and they make us run under the table and act out the scenario," said Montana Tech grad student Mark Mariano.

Although a major earthquake has not shaken Montana since 2006 Stickney says we might be overdue for one.

"There is no doubt in my mind that one day one will come, and it might be tomorrow or 100 years from now, but when it does it will shake up a lot of people," said Stickney.

Until the day when that does happen Stickney and his team will continue tracking seismic activity in Montana.