Scientists study largest earthquake to strike Idaho in decades

Dr. Lee Liberty talked with the Gray DC Bureau Wednesday on his way to the site of the...
Dr. Lee Liberty talked with the Gray DC Bureau Wednesday on his way to the site of the earthquake. (Source: Gray DC)(GRAYDC)
Published: Apr. 1, 2020 at 6:46 PM CDT
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Scientists are now studying the largest earthquake to hit Idaho in decades.

Boise State research Professor Dr. Lee Liberty said he was with his family when he felt the magnitude 6.5 earthquake shake the ground for 20 seconds Tuesday night.

Liberty drove to the site of the earthquake in the Challis National Forest on Wednesday. He said he is dropping seismic equipment into the ground to study the aftershocks.

“We are deploying seismometers, so what we do is we dig a hole about a foot, to 2 feet deep and put in a sensor the size of a small bucket, and some cables come out of the ground,” said Dr. Liberty.

This is not the first big earthquake to hit the region. A magnitude 5.7 earthquake struck just outside Salt Lake City, Utah two weeks ago.

“The question is are they related? They are on related fault systems. These are all part of larger faults extending across the Great Basin, which includes parts of Utah, all of Nevada, parts of Idaho, so in that sense, they are connected,” said Dr. Liberty.

Dr. Austin Elliott at the U.S. Geological Survey said aftershocks will continue but people may not even feel them.

“That’s completely common after large earthquakes. The potential for a larger earthquake is slightly greater, but still very small…this is a reminder that Idaho like other western states is earthquake country,” said Dr. Elliott.

Elliott said Idahoans are lucky because the quake happened in a remote area. He said it is a wake-up call for everyone to have a plan if another earthquake strikes.

To find out more about the recent earthquake in Idaho,


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