Western Montana rattled by strong earthquakes; felt in Eastern Washington

LINCOLN, Mont.  — Two strong earthquakes hit western Montana early Thursday.

The U.S. Geological Survey says a preliminary magnitude 5.8 earthquake struck early Thursday morning about 6 miles southeast of Lincoln, 36 miles northwest of Helena and 67 miles east of Missoula. It had a depth of about 2.5 miles (4 kilometers) and created at least one aftershock.

A magnitude 4.5 quake rattled the same general area within a half-hour of the bigger one.

The Independent Record reports that people felt the earthquake as far away as Bozeman, Idaho, and Great Falls. And people in Spokane said they felt it, too.

USGS map of earthquake center and area where it was felt.

The newspaper says the temblor was strong enough to knock items off shelves and walls residents of Helena, which is about 34 miles away from the quake's epicenter.

A 76-year-old Helena resident said it was the strongest quake he had ever felt.

Ray Anderson said his wife told him the temblor woke up the dogs but it didn't cause any damage.

There were no early reports of damage or injuries.