STAPLES (WJON News) -- The residents of central Minnesota were shaken by a sizeable earthquake on this date.

The Minnesota Historical Society says on September 3rd, 1917 (106 years ago) the earthquake rattled a large portion of central and northern Minnesota sometime between 3:20 and 3:30 p.m.

Dispatches went out from as far north as International Falls and as far south as St. Cloud after the earthquake struck.  Most people described it as nothing special.  Residents in towns like Brainerd, Motley, and Little Falls reported hearing a 'rumbling' or 'roaring' noise similar to that of a passing train.  They say some glassware rattled, a paint can fell off a ladder, but no one was hurt.

Seismology was still a developing science in the early 1900s, so they did not realize at the time that Staples was along a fault known as the Great Lake Tectonic Zone.

Several decades later, the Minnesota Geological Survey estimated that the Staples earthquake had a magnitude of 4.3, making it the strongest recorded tremor to shake the state until the 4.6 magnitude earthquake hit Morris in 1975.

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Geologists determined that at least five earthquakes including one that hit Long Prairie in 1860 or 1861 shook Minnesota in the half century before the 1917 Staples quake.



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