Subscribe for 17¢ / day
Foodtown mess

Lincoln residents Ken and JoAnn Nelson help clean up the mess at D&D Foodtown grocery store in Lincoln after the July 6 earthquake. "We were outside when the first aftershock hit. It visibly shook the whole house, rattling the vinyl siding. Sounded like a bag of dry beans shaking or something," Ken Nelson said.

One of more than 1,700 seismic events detected near Helena so far this year, a 5.8 magnitude earthquake centered six miles south of Lincoln on July 6 was the biggest ever recorded west of the Continental Divide in Montana and the strongest to hit the state in more than 40 years.

The U.S. Geological Survey recorded at least nine tremors within an hour of the initial 12:30 a.m. quake, and they ranged in magnitude from 4.9 to 3.1.

Despite the late hour, Lewis and Clark County's 911 dispatchers received 257 calls from people asking about the earthquake within about 15 minutes of the initial activity. 

News of the earthquake and its aftershocks also blew up on social media, as people from Missoula to Billings and some surrounding states described what they saw, felt and heard. The earthquakes were strong enough to knock items off of walls and shelves as far away as Helena and Missoula, cause a temporary power outage in Lincoln and cause a gas leak in Helena.

+5 
State liquor store, Lincoln

Liquor bottles that rattled off the shelves are on the floor at the state liquor store in Lincoln after the July 6 earthquake.

In the small community of Lincoln, which was hit the hardest, business owners, volunteer firefighters and neighbors gathered later that morning to survey the damage and help clean up broken glass and spilled products at the Wheel Inn Tavern, D&D Foodtown grocery store and other local businesses. Though some businesses suffered a financial loss, no serious damages or injuries were reported.

The earthquake occurred near a fault line that was not previously mapped by seismologists, and the exact causes of Montana’s seismic activity remain in debate.

“If you look globally, it is interesting and unusual to have a seismic belt such as we have form far away from an active plate tectonic boundary,” Mike Stickney, seismologist at the Earthquake Studies Office of the Montana Bureau of Mines and Geology on the Montana Tech Campus in Butte, told Lee Newspapers at the time.

+5 
Lincoln resident Gordon Becker, 38, center, recounts the moment

Lincoln resident Gordon Becker, 38, right, recounts the moment he and his family were shaken in the early hours of July 6 by the 5.8-magnitude earthquake. "I'm just glad we were outside when the quake hit. The elk mount over my bed fell off, so at least we avoided that," Becker said.

+5 
A mule deer mount lays broken after in Gordon Becker's living room Thursday morning.

A mule deer mount lays broken in Gordon Becker's living room after an earthquake July 6. 

+5 
Status report

From left, Lewis and Clark County Commissioner Jim McCormick, Sheriff Leo Dutton, and Lincoln Fire Chief Zach Muse attend a status report briefing on the July 6 earthquake. 

+5 
Foodtown mess

Michele Kegel helps clean up the D&D Foodtown grocery store in Lincoln after the July 6 earthquake. "I heard it all of a sudden and couldn't grab onto my husband fast enough. I heard my 18-year-old daughter scream. She ended up sleeping in bed with us," she said.

0
1
1
1
0

Editor

Editor at The Independent Record.

Load comments