Earthquake shakes Montana, Idaho; no damage

A moderate earthquake shook parts of western Montana and eastern Idaho on Sunday, but no injuries or property damage were reported. The epicenter of the temblor - which had a preliminary magnitude of 4.5 - was in a sparsely populated, mountainous area along the Montana-Idaho line, about 29 miles (47 kilometers) southeast of Salmon, Idaho, according to the US Geological Survey Web site. The Lemhi County Sheriff's Department in Salmon received dozens of calls about the 5:23 p.m. quake, but no damage reports. "I myself did not feel it, but the inmates felt it," said Deputy Jess Bowen, whose office is next to jail cells. "They were probably just paying attention, and we were busy doing other things." More than 75 people who felt the quake posted reports on the geological service's Web site, including some in Missoula and Helena, about 130 miles (210 kilometers) northeast of Salmon. A 4.5 temblor beneath a city could bring damage such as cracked chimneys or windows, said Michael Stickney of the Montana Bureau of Mines and Geology. But little damage was reported Sunday in part because of the sparse population, he said.
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