Smiths Ferry is a quiet area with Cougar Mountain Lodge marking the intersection of ID-55 and NF-644 and Smiths Ferry Drive. This area is 19 miles from Banks and 17 miles from Cascade. There’s a small store there along with a bank of mailboxes, the Payette River, and the highway.

Smiths Ferry was jolted into excitement Monday morning. People in the area were enjoying a normal day until 10:25 AM. That’s when an earthquake of 4.9 magnitude struck just 6 miles north of Cougar Mountain Lodge. After the larger quake, smaller rumbles began 17 minutes later. These 5 aftershocks ranged in intensity from 1.4 to a 2.8 magnitude aftershock recorded at noon, February 26th.

How Does the USGS Measure Earthquakes?

Earthquakes used to be measured on the Richter Scale, but are now measured using the Moment Magnitude scale by the USGS. The difference between a 4.9 and 5-magnitude earthquake seems like a small amount. A 5-point magnitude is 10 times stronger than a 4.9.

How Often Does Idaho Have Earthquakes?

4 years ago, a 6.5 magnitude earthquake rocked Stanley, Idaho. The shakes from this quake were felt in Twin Falls. Followed by a 6.5 magnitude quake in Challis the same month. In 2017, a 5.3 rolled its way through Soda Springs, Idaho.

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The largest earthquake in Idaho was the Borah Peak earthquake in October of 1983. This quake registered 7.3 and there were aftershocks as strong as 5.8 within the following 48 hours.
Seismic activity is not uncommon in Idaho. The many hot springs throughout the state are constant reminders of our proximity to magma below us.

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