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6.5 magnitude earthquake could be Idaho’s second-strongest ever

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An apartment complex in Burley damaged by an earthquake Tuesday night. | Courtesy Camden Davis

IDAHO FALLS — A major 6.5 magnitude earthquake shook virtually the entire Gem State Tuesday evening, and aftershocks continued well into the evening.

The original quake happened just before 6 p.m. and originated about 45 miles west of Challis, and 20 miles northwest of Stanley, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

Stanley Mayor Steve Botti told the Idaho Statesman that as of 6:15 p.m. he had not seen any major damage in his town.

“Stuff was flying all over the place,” Botti told the newspaper. “I was upstairs and I tried to walk down the steps and I couldn’t because it was shaking too much.”

Residents from across the state reported feeling the quake.

Arco resident John Crane tells EastIdahoNews.com the shaking lasted for 20 to 30 seconds and described it as a rolling motion.

“I have a flag and wagon wheel light fixture in my yard. They were swinging back and forth,” Crane says. “I have some glass shower doors and they were rattling. My floor was bouncing up and down pretty good.”

The quaking startled Crane’s dog, who was sitting in the yard at the time. Crane says there was no significant damage.

Many others reported similar experiences. Terry Van Wormer lives in Salmon and he says it rocked his house pretty hard.

“My cat had this ‘what the hell is going on?’ (look) on his face.”

Rexburg resident Kirstie Reed was in the middle of a Marco Polo with her friends when the earthquake happened. You can see her reaction in the video player above.

According to the Idaho Statesman archive, the 6.5 magnitude quake would be the second-largest earthquake in Idaho history if it stands (the number often is adjusted with more information). The Borah Peak earthquake, which was a magnitude 6.9, killed two people in Challis near the quake’s epicenter. The second-largest is a three-way tie at 5.8 from 1983-84.

The five strongest previous Idaho earthquakes were all in the Challis area, according to the newspaper.

USGS officials say this could be the first of more earthquakes to come over the next several days.

As of 9 p.m. there had already been nine aftershocks ranging between 4.6 to 3.1 magnitude about 37 to 43 miles southeast of Cascade. Officials say there is a 99% chance of magnitude 3 aftershocks and a 48% chance of a magnitude 5 quake or higher.

For more information about the earthquake and its aftershocks visit www.usgs.gov.

Courtesy Camden Davis
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