This statistic is a little shocking, and honestly makes me second-guess living here in the Gallatin Valley. 

People love to visit Montana for its rivers, lakes, forests, mountains, and other geological attributes. Recently, we found out that something else is pretty common Montana—something a little less appealing. 

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Montana is no stranger when it comes to earthquakes, but did you know that Montana ranks fourth in the United States for most seismically active states? Montana has about 7 to 10 earthquakes a day, to be exact. 

Photo by Jens Aber via Unsplash
Photo by Jens Aber via Unsplash

This might seem alarming, but most of our earthquakes are so small you probably won't even notice them. The largest earthquake in Montana was 7.5 magnitude in 1959 and was so violent it created a new lake. You might know this place as Quake Lake

We haven't had anything that large since, and we mostly have earthquakes that range from 2 to 4 on the richter scale. I haven't felt an earthquake since I moved to Bozeman in 2014. 

The main cause of these earthquakes is the Intermountain Seismic Belt in western Montana and Yellowstone National Park. The Intermountain Seismic Belt is centered around the Rocky Mountains and doesn't intersect populated areas. 

Photo by Jan Brennenstuhl via Unsplash
Photo by Jan Brennenstuhl via Unsplash

Additionally, Yellowstone National Park is on a caldera and there are some tremors from time to time, but nothing to worry about in the near future. Sure, if you have never experienced an earthquake before, it can be a little jarring, but it passes quickly. 

My brother was living in Whitefish when a 3.4 earthquake hit around 2 AM, and he said he woke up to the whole house shaking and his bed moving and didn't know what was happening. 

Maybe we could use these earthquakes as a deterrent for out-of-towners moving to Montana? We could inform them that Montana is a hot-bed of earthquakes, and maybe they won't move here. Just a thought. 

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