Seismicity map of the State of Montana

Miscellaneous Field Studies Map 1819

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This map is one of a series of seismicity maps produced by the U. S. Geological Survey that show earthquake data of individual states or groups of states at the scale of 1:1,000,000. This map shows only those earthquakes with epicenters located within the boundaries of Montana, even though earthquakes in bordering states or countries may have been felt or may have caused damage in Montana.

The data in table 1 were used to compile the seismicity map; these data are a corrected, expanded, and updated (through 1981) version of the data used by Algermissen (1969) for a study of seismic risk in the United States. The locations and intensities of some earthquakes were revised and intensities were assigned where none had been before. Many earthquakes were added to the original list from new data sources as well as from some old data sources that had not been previously used. No earthquakes with magnitudes greater than 2.5 were located in Montana during 1981. The data in table 1 represent best estimates of the location of the epicenter, magnitude, and intensity of each earthquake on the basis of historical and current information. Some of the aftershocks from large earthquakes are listed, but not all, especially for earthquakes that occurred before seismic instruments were universally used.

Special criteria used in compiling the list of earthquake in the State of Montana include the following: (1) All earthquakes with epicenters along the Montana-Wyoming border with a latitude of 45° N are listed in Montana. (2) Aftershocks of the 1925 and 1935 earthquakes were assigned the same geographic locations as the main shocks. (3) Instrumental epicenters for the 1959 Hebgen Lake earthquake and its aftershocks were 1ocated in Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming; only the ones located in Montana are included on this map. All non-instrumental locations were given the location of the main shock with an accuracy code that includes the community reporting the maximum intensity.

The latitude and longitude coordinates of each epicenter were rounded to the nearest tenth of a degree and sorted so that all identical locations were grouped and counted. These locations are represented on the map by a triangle. The number of earthquakes at each location is shown on the map by the number to the right of the triangle. A Roman numeral to the left of a triangle is the maximum Modified Mercalli intensity (Wood and Neumann, 1931) of all earthquakes at that geographic location. The absence of an intensity value indicates that no intensities have been assigned to earthquakes at that location. The year shown below each triangle is the latest year for which the maximum intensity was recorded.

Study Area

Additional publication details

Publication type:
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Seismicity map of the State of Montana
Series title:
Miscellaneous Field Studies Map
Series number:
Year Published:
U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location:
Reston, VA
2 Plates: 55.28 x 38.49 inches and 39.06 x 25.58 inches
United States
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