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5.8 magnitude earthquake hits western Montana

A 5.8 magnitude earthquake struck western Montana early Thursday, according to the US Geological Survey.

The earthquake was 13.6 kilometers (8.4 miles) in depth and was about 33 miles northwest of Helena, the capital, according to USGS. It struck about 7 miles southeast of Lincoln, which has a population of 1,013.

Residents as far as Spokane, Washington, and Seattle reportedly felt the first tremors shortly after midnight, according to CNN affiliate KRTV-TV. Several 911 call centers reported being swamped, but there was no early word of injuries or major structural damage, the station reported.

A series of aftershocks followed, with magnitudes ranging from 3.1 to 4.9, clustered near Lincoln.

Thursday's quake is the strongest in the region in several years. The most recent reading of 5.8 or higher was a 5.9 magnitude quake in Nevada in 2008. A 5.6 magnitude quake in 2005 occurred 105 miles to the south of Lincoln and caused minor damage.

Thousands of residents responded to the "Did You Feel It?" reporting page on the USGS website.

Lewis and Clark County Sheriff's Office stated that power had been restored early Thursday and that as of 2 a.m. there were no reports of injury or damage in the Lincoln area. Isolated rock slides were reported, but they have since been cleared, the office said.

The USGS estimated that there was low likelihood of casualties and damage.

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