BUTTE, Mont. - Scientists with Montana Tech say there is a chance that an earthquake the size of the one in Yellowstone over the weekend could have caused damage if it had hit closer to a city.
The 4.8 magnitude quake hit about 20 miles northeast of West Yellowstone, just after 6:30 Sunday morning. That area is just north of the Norris Geyser Basin. People reported feeling the quake in both Gardiner and West Yellowstone.
The earthquake was the strongest inside Yellowstone National Park in more than 30 years.
The Director of the Earthquake Studies Office, Mike Stickney, said there were shocks before and after the earthquake. After shocks got up to as high as 3.1 magnitude. Stickney said the earthquake could be felt as far as 60 to 80 miles outside the park.
The seismograph at the Montana Bureau of Mines and Geology in Butte recorded Sunday's earthquake.
"This is such an active area and clearly there will be continuing seismicity, we don't have any reason at this point to think that its leading up to anything larger," said Stickney.
The earthquake may have been the strongest in Yellowstone in recent years, but it wasn't the strongest in Montana.
In July 2005 a 5.6 magnitude quake hit north of Dillon. That quake was strong enough to cause cracks in a highway bridge near the town of Glen about halfway between Butte and Dillon.
A 1959 earthquake near Hebgen Lake in southwest Montana measured over 7.3 on the Richter scale, resulting in 28 deaths, $11 million in damage and the creation of Quake Lake.