We are not quite a quarter of the way through 2021 and we have had our second earthquake in the 605.

According to the United States Geological Service, an earthquake occurred just south of the Black Hills this morning. The quake was centered 11 kilometers, or about seven miles east-northeast of Edgemont, and was measured as a magnitude 3.4 and at a depth of five kilometers.


As of this writing, eight people had reported to the USGS that they felt the quake.

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This is the second earthquake in South Dakota this year and the third in the last four months. On January 4, 2021, an earthquake occurred near Tyndall and was a magnitude 3.1. Less than a month earlier, on December 8, 2020, an earthquake happened near Bowdle in the north-central portion of the state and was a magnitude 3.2.

The strongest earthquake to ever hit South Dakota happened back in 1911 when a magnitude 4.5 quake happened near Huron. By contrast, the earthquake that hit the San Francisco Bay Area and interrupted the World Series in 1989 was a magnitude 6.9.

According to the South Dakota Geological Survey, earthquakes are not uncommon in South Dakota but serious damage during one is quite rare.

There have been almost 100 documented earthquakes in South Dakota since the first recorded one in 1872. Likely causes of these earthquakes are adjustments deep in the basement rocks underlying the state or ongoing rebound of the earth’s crust from compression by ice sheets during the last ice age.

An earthquake is one of those things I want to experience but is potentially so dangerous that I would want to be there and simultaneously not want to be there if a big one hit in a seismically active state like California. But I'd love to feel a little 605 rumbly tumbly quake.

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