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TitleThe 16 May 1909 Northern Great Plains Earthquake
AuthorBakun, W H; Stickney, M C; Rogers, G C
SourceBulletin of the Seismological Society of America vol. 101, no. 6, 2011 p. 3065-3071,
Alt SeriesEarth Sciences Sector, Contribution Series 20110023
Mediapaper; on-line; digital
File formatpdf
AreaMontana; Canada; United States
Lat/Long WENS-105.5000 -105.2500 49.0000 14.0000
Subjectsgeophysics; earthquakes; earthquake studies; earthquake magnitudes; structural features; faults; lineaments; seismicity
Illustrationslocation maps; tables
ProgramTargeted Hazard Assessments in Western Canada, Public Safety Geoscience
Released2011 12 08
AbstractThe largest historical earthquake in the northern Great Plains occurred on 16 May 1909. Our analysis of intensity assignments places the earthquake location (48.81° N, 105.38° W) close to the Montana - Saskatchewan border with an intensity magnitudeMI of 5.3 - 5.4. Observations from two seismic observatories in Europe give an average Ms value of 5.3. The 1909 earthquake is near an alignment of epicenters of small earthquakes in Montana and Saskatchewan and on strike with the mapped Hinsdale fault in Montana. Thus, the 1909 earthquake may have occurred on a 300-km-long seismically active fault, which could have seismic-hazard implications for the region, particularly for the hydraulically emplaced earth-filled Fort Peck Dam, constructed in the 1930s on the Missouri River in northeast Montana.