Series of quakes keeps Challis on edge

BOISE, Idaho (KBOI) -- A series of relatively minor earthquakes near the central Idaho town of Challis has people on edge, but they've definitely seen worse.

The Borah Peak earthquake in October 1983 is the largest ever recorded in Idaho.

With a magnitude of 6.9, the quake killed two children in Challis and caused some $12 million damage in the Challis-Mackay area.

Now the area around Challis is experiencing a fresh round of earthquake activity, something experts say isn't unusual given the fact the Challis area has the most seismic activity in Idaho.

"In the scheme of things, over the last century, this type of earthquake activity in Challis is typical," said Jeffrey Johnson with Boise State's Department of Geosciences. "It comes and goes."

On Monday, the U.S. Geological Survey says six earthquakes shook the ground near Challis, ranging from 2.5 to 4.6 in magnitude.

Those quakes near Challis followed a 4.9 magnitude shaking on Sunday and a 4.1 magnitude quake on Thursday.

Idaho ranks about about fifth nationally when it comes to earthquake activity, but we're lumped in there with our neighboring Intermountain states, and we're far behind the big three.

California, Alaska and Washington have the most earthquake or seismic activity in the United States.

"The million dollar question is what's going to happen next," Johnson said. "Seismologists do not predict earthquakes, we forecast the likelihood of earthquakes based on past records."

And the likelihood is things will rattle and roll around Challis for a little while longer. A similar series of earthquakes last shook the area in 1998.