One of the strongest earthquakes in Western Montana so far this year woke up people who had only been sleeping a few hours after the 4th of July fireworks.

There was no mistaking this one for the rowdy kids down the road who were still lighting it up well after midnight.

The U.S. Geological Survey says the quake, centered under the mountains just east of Seeley Lake was a sizable one, measuring a 3.9 magnitude.

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More than a rumble

While we're somewhat used to earthquakes in Montana, anything over a 3.0 tends to get most people's attention. And this one was well into the "very noticeable" range.

U.S.G.S. seismologists said the quake was located at a depth of 10 km, or approximately 6.2 miles under the surface, with an epicenter just over 14 miles east northeast of Seeley Lake near the western edge of the Scapegoat Wilderness.

The quake hit at 4:45 am. It was followed by three distinct aftershocks, with two measuring 2.5 and then 2.0 magnitude, with a third, and final, small jolt hitting 1.3 about 5 hours later 2 kilometers to the east.

USGS map
USGS map

Where people noticed

U.S.G.S. received several reports from people feeling the quake, despite the early hour. Residents in Missoula, Kalispell, and Helena all filed reports, in addition to those living in the Seeley-Swan. Additional reports came from as far away as Helena and Deer Lodge.

Montana is known for its active seismicity. There have been a total of 22 small quakes reported in Western Montana over the past three weeks.

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Gallery Credit: Chris Cardenas

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