After a 5.3 magnitude earthquake shook southeastern Idaho this past Saturday, the area has been hit with more than 100 aftershocks. According to seismologists, the earthquakes in Idaho are likely to continue for at least another week.
The earthquakes in Idaho started with a 4.3-magnitude quake just before 6 p.m., followed shortly after by the larger 5.3 just outside Soda Springs. As of Wednesday morning, seismographs operated by the University of Idaho have recorded 129 more tremors.
As reported by NBC News, geophysicist John Bellini with the U.S. Geological Survey said the earthquakes in Idaho should stop probably late next week. Fortunately, he does not expect one larger than the 5.3 quake already felt by residents.
“Do we expect a larger one? No, we don’t. You don’t have earthquakes every day like in California — they’re feel-able just a few times a year in Idaho.”
It is quite common for Idaho to experience earthquakes since several small fault lines run through the state. The recent tremors have been felt all over southeastern Idaho and as far away as Salt Lake City, Utah.
Even though the sheer number of Idaho aftershocks over the last few days has residents on edge, experts say the tremors are quite normal after a large earthquake.
“Foreshocks, aftershocks, and swarms are all very normal for earthquakes,” said Professor Shannon Kobs Nawotniak with the Idaho State University Department of Geosciences, as cited by East Idaho News. “It will take a little while for the rocks to finish settling into new positions, and each wiggle as it settles into place is giving us another small earthquake.”
For the past several days since the earthquakes in Idaho began, people have been lighting up social media with claims and theories associating the tremors with a potential eruption of the nearby Yellowstone supervolcano. However, Nawotniak has debunked the idea, saying the tremors are not related and are not able to influence the seismic movement that occurs in Yellowstone.
The largest earthquake ever recorded in Idaho was a magnitude-6.9 tremor in October 1983. Aftershocks of the earthquake continued for over a year, with the largest measuring 5.8-magnitude.
So far, no injuries or significant damage is being reported from the recent earthquakes in Idaho. As for the 129 aftershocks, none has measured more than 4.5-magnitude and is connected to any activity happening near the Yellowstone supervolcano.
[Featured Image by Belish/Shutterstock]