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Some Lava locals shaken by 4.2 magnitude earthquake

Lava locals were assessing the damages and picking up the pieces after Sunday night’s magnitude 4.2 earthquake that rattled southeast Idaho.

Florence Berti lives directly on top of where the earthquake hit.

“It actually felt like a bomb,” Berti said Monday. “It did. It felt like a bomb went off and I looked, and the mirror was coming up like this and coming back down like that.”

Luckily, nobody was hurt, but others who also live at the epicenter of the quake experienced reactions similar to what Berti felt. Some even thought an airplane had crashed into their back yard.

“Everything checked out,” Bannock County Sheriff Lorin Nielsen said. “We had a few pictures fall off the walls, but it was enough to let you know Mother Nature is in charge.”

In charge, indeed.

Expert geologists said this earthquake is nothing new to the region. In fact, they estimate the majority of earthquakes that have hit within the past 50 years struck regions around Soda Springs and Montpelier.

“What is happening overall is that Oregon and Washington are spreading westward away from Wyoming and Idaho is caught in the middle,” Idaho State University geosciences professor Dr. David Rodgers said.

Unlike California, where earthquakes are caused by multiple tectonic plates sliding over each other, Idaho sits on one giant plate being split apart almost resembling an accordion, Rodgers said.

Rodgers also said to give it about 15 million years before we start to see Idaho completely start to split apart, along with other regions across the western states. Meaning, in about 15 million years, the United States could possibly see islands forming in what used to be known as Idaho.

But, with relief that won’t be happening for quite a long time, Rodgers also mentioned these series of small quakes southeast Idaho residents have been experiencing can possibly be a precursor to an earthquake slightly larger in scale.

“Unfortunately, someday there will be an earthquake in that area – magnitude 6 or 7. There are emergency preparedness folks all throughout southeast Idaho who know about this, and they are prepared for this. So, it’s just good to keep awareness up,” Rodgers said.

Nielsen said that local government officials do, in fact, have emergency preparedness plans in place in the case a larger-scale earthquake were to hit. He also said the safest place to be during an earthquake is outside, or away from anything that could fall.

But for now, everyone says, there is nothing to worry about.

Follow Kaitlin on Twitter: @KaitlinLoukides

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