Intermountain Seismic Belt Historical Earthquake Project
November 23, 1947 – Virginia City, MT – M 6¼
The Virginia City earthquake was reported felt in several communities in Montana, including: Billings, Missoula, Lewistown, Livingston, Helena, Harlowton, Malta, Havre, Glasgow, Kalispell, and Bozeman; and as far south as Idaho Falls, Idaho.
In most areas, the earthquake rocked buildings with, what was described in Helena as, a “long and easy” motion. There were widespread reports of swaying light fixtures, stopped clocks, dishes rattling, and window blinds and curtains moving back and forth. Cracks in plaster were observed and a plaster ceiling fell in a café in Hamilton.
Near the epicenter, in Virginia City, bricks and plaster were shaken loose from buildings, windowpanes were shattered, walls were cracked, and chimneys damaged. There were also reports of pictures being shaken off walls and dishes falling from cupboards.
In some locations sleeping residents were awakened as the shaking dislodged icicles from rooftops. Strange noises were reportedly heard during the shaking, and some residents fled their homes in fear. However, there were no reports of injuries or significant damage resulting from the earthquake.
For additional information about this earthquake:
For more information about this project: