You might be thinking, "Earthquakes. In South Dakota?" Yes, we have earthquakes here, and by history's standards, quite a few.

In fact, according to the South Dakota Geological Survey, South Dakota has had about 100 or so earthquakes since they started keeping records in 1872.

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Does South Dakota Get Earthquakes?

And the last time the ground shook in South Dakota? It was last August 5, 2022, near Draper, South Dakota in the south-central part of the state. The trembler was 3.2 magnitude on the Richter Scale and because it was out in the country the impact was minimal.

There were two other minor quakes last year, also. One near Buffalo Gap, also in August of 2022, and the other near Plankinton in January of 2022.

The quake that I remember the most, however, was a pretty good shaker! It was on November 15, 1982.

I was living in Sioux Falls, but commuting to Yankton and working part-time at a radio station there. The evening had been pretty quiet right up until 9 PM.

I went into the newsroom where they kept these giant news teletype machines, to clear some of the news they were printing off. At one point while I was organizing the news copy, I (literally) felt the earth move!

I thought, "Man, that UPI (United Press International) machine needs some service! It is really shaking the floor!" The minute that thought went through my head, the three phone lines we had lit up!

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People were inquiring about an explosion "over near Tyndall", or asking "did we just have an earthquake?". And the calls just kept coming in. It turned out that indeed there had been a 4.3 magnitude earthquake just short of a mile northeast of Tyndall.

It was felt where I was - in Yankton, but also throughout southeastern South Dakota, down in Crofton, Nebraska, and also in the Sioux City, Iowa area.

That was the event that reminded me that earthquakes can happen anywhere - even in the middle of nowhere in South Dakota!

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Sources: South Dakota Geological Survey, United States Geological Survey (USGS) & USGS Education. 

Standing in Three States at One Time


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