BUTTE- A series of earthquakes in Southwestern Montana has people rattled, after two earthquakes shook the Manhattan area around 6 PM, Thursday.
The double earthquakes come after numerous earthquakes in the same area over the past few months. Experts at the Montana Bureau of Mines and Geology say, since September of 2018, there have been more than 500 recorded earthquakes in the Manhattan area.
Mike Stickney, director of earthquake studies at Montana Tech has been studying the readings on the seismograph at Montana Tech of the 3.3 and 4.2 magnitude earthquakes from Thursday.
Magnitude 3 or 4 earthquakes have become a monthly occurrence in the Gallatin Valley. The seismograph has been busy recording 5 to 10 earthquakes each day, according to Stickney. Most of the earthquakes are small, but enough to get a reading on the machine.
”This is part of a continuing sequence of earthquake activity centered near Manhattan that actually started last September,” Stickney said Friday.
Stickney has studied earthquakes for nearly four decades at Montana Tech. He said the increase in activity, near Manhattan isn't out of the ordinary for that area.
“Western Montana lies on something called the Intermountain Seismic Belt, it's a zone of seismic activity that extends from the Yellowstone Park area up into Northwest Montana, up into the Flathead Lake and Kalispell region,” he said.
Even with advancements in technology in recent decades, Stickney said earthquakes are still unpredictable. He said the recent activity in the Manhattan area could die down or continue - it's all up to mother nature.
The unpredictability of earthquakes is why Stickney wants to remind residents in the area to always be prepared.
“These recent earthquakes are a reminder that we live in earthquake country and a larger earthquake can come along without any warning,” he said.
You can find earthquakes safety tips on FEMA's website.