An earthquake strong enough to rouse sleeping residents more than 30 miles from its epicenter struck western Montana early Thursday. The magnitude 5.8 earthquake hit just after midnight about 6 miles southeast of Lincoln, according to the US Geological Survey. There were no immediate reports of injuries. Residents in Lincoln briefly lost power and there was a gas leak in Helena, the National Weather Service in Great Falls says. The Independent Record reports that people felt the quake as far away as Bozeman, Idaho, and Great Falls.
Ray Anderson, 76, tells the AP that it was the strongest seismic activity he had ever felt while living in Helena, which is about 34 miles away from the quake's epicenter. USGS geophysicist Robert Sanders tells the Los Angeles Times that there hasn't been a quake this strong in the west of the state for at least 20 years. "It's not impossible, but it is a very rare event," he says. Musician John Mayer, a part-time Bozeman resident, took to Twitter to marvel at the event. "Wow," he tweeted. "Earthquake in Montana." (Read more Montana stories.)