UM Students Explore Earthquakes in Western Montana

group of students visit a seismic station near continental divide trail

UM undergraduate and graduate students study earthquake activity in western Montana, including a sequence of aftershocks caused by a Magnitude 5.8 earthquake that occurred near Lincoln, Montana, on July 6, 2017. The M5.8 mainshock was the largest earthquake to strike Montana in over 50 years, and aftershocks from the event are still ongoing. UM students have taken on leadership roles in all aspects of the project, from the deployment of seismic instruments to the analysis of data. UM graduate student Ellen Smith recently completed her masters thesis on the spatiotemporal evolution of the Lincoln aftershock sequence. Her results suggest that the aftershocks likely ruptured along a series of adjacent crustal faults that are rotating clockwise with time. UM senior Bryana McKay completed a summer apprenticeship in 2019 sponsored by the Montana Space Grant Consortium, in which she helped to manage the operations of the UM Seismic Network. Bryana is now analyzing data collected in the field and working on her senior thesis. Many more UM undergraduate and graduate students have been involved in fieldwork since the inception of the UM Seismic Network in summer 2017, including: Andrew Keene (MS, Geosciences, 2019), Cody Norberg (Senior, Physics), Ashlesha Khatiwada (Junior, Geosciences), Anthony Joyce (Senior, Geosciences), Mason Perry (PhD, Geosciences), and Supanut Suntikoon (PhD, Geosciences). For more information on the UM Seismic Network, and for opportunities to get involved, please visit the Martens Lab website.

Image Above: UM undergraduate and graduate students (from left to right: Cody Norberg, Ashlesha Khatiwada, Andrew Keene, and Ellen Smith) visit a seismic station from the UM Seismic Network near the Continental Divide Trail in western Montana in Fall 2017.

bryana mckay collecting data
UM senior Bryana McKay collects data from a seismic station in the UM Seismic Network near Elk Creek, Montana, in Fall 2019.
student Supanut (Byun) Suntikoon services a seismic station
UM PhD student Supanut (Byun) Suntikoon services a seismic station from the UM Seismic Network near Elk Creek, Montana, in Fall 2019.