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Half a dozen earthquakes shake Idaho, and some are felt in the Boise area

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Posted at 4:31 PM, Sep 08, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-08 18:31:20-04

BOISE, Idaho — This article was written by Hayley Harding of the Idaho Statesman.

A series of earthquakes near Stanley could be felt as far away as Boise on Tuesday, some strong enough to shake buildings, as Idaho continued to experience a year of healthy quake activity.

The first, a magnitude-2.7 quake, came at 12:47 a.m., according to the U.S. Geological Survey. The second, another magnitude 2.7, hit less than an hour later, at 1:26 p.m. A magnitude-3.1 earthquake hit at 6:24 a.m., and a magnitude 2.9 hit at 10:32 a.m.

The U.S. Geological Survey confirmed that two more hit Tuesday afternoon. Seismologist Paul Earle said the first one, centered about 22 miles northwest of Stanley, was a magnitude 3.9. The second, which hit less than a minute later, was about 23 miles north/northeast of Lowman and registered at a 4.4 magnitude.

Those magnitudes make Tuesday afternoon’s quakes some of the larger ones felt in recent months. Idahoans have felt several earthquakes since March 31, when a magnitude-6.5 earthquake — one of the strongest ever recorded in the state — shook the Boise area. It was also centered outside of Stanley. Since then, some of the largest quakes have registered at around 4.5.

Some smaller earthquakes registered around the state over the Labor Day weekend. Two quakes, at magnitudes 2.8 and 2.7, registered west of Mackay on Saturday and Sunday, respectively. A magnitude-2.5 quake registered northeast of Cascade last Wednesday, and a handful of other quakes also registered near Stanley over the past week.

Earle said the odds of another quake at 4.0 or higher were low — about 5%. He said Tuesday’s quakes served as an opportunity to remind people to be prepared for others.

“It’s much like planning for other natural disasters,” he said. “The odds are low, but they’re not nonexistent. It’s good to be prepared.”

Idaho sits on the northern part of an area known as the Basin and Range Province, which geologists consider to be very active. It’s not clear which fault line caused the big March 31 quake.