Earthquakes Are real in South Dakota – But They’re Rare
The first state to come to mind when talking about earthquakes isn't South Dakota. But the Rushmore State is no stranger to some trembling from time to time.
On July 11 of 1982, a 3.4 magnitude earthquake shook the Egan, South Dakota area. Four months later an even stronger quake hit the Tyndall area. This one was a 4.3 quake.
The largest earthquake with an epicenter in South Dakota was a 4.5 quake that hit south of Huron in 1911. The most recent reported quake in South Dakota was in January of 2022 near Plankinton. It was a small shake on the scales coming in only 2.5.
The largest-ever felt in South Dakota was a 5.1 earthquake in 1967 south of Martin; its epicenter was just across the state line in Nebraska. Overall, according to the United States Geological Survey, there have been 71 earthquakes reported in South Dakota as represented in the map above.
Are there fault lines running through South Dakota? According to Meteorologist Aaron Doudna from Dakota News Now, “There are some fault lines that run through South Dakota, so experiencing a small earthquake isn't unheard of. They're just rare."
According to DataBasin.org, there is a spiderweb of faults that lie beneath the surface in the Badlands and throughout the Black Hills. Check out the interesting map at DataBasin.org.
Injury and structural damage have always been at a minimum for a South Dakota tremor, but people who have experienced the quakes reported windows rattling, wobbling furniture, and narrow cracks in the earth.
The USGA released a Seismic Hazard Map of South Dakota. These are the areas in South Dakota that may have a higher risk of earthquakes.
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