Three earthquakes shook the Arnold area in the pre-dawn hours Tuesday, U.S. Geological readings said.

Those three quakes followed one that occurred early Monday morning around 4:30 a.m.

The four quakes measured anywhere from 2.5 to 3.7 on the Richter scale.

The quakes were focused about 3 miles underground and centered 15-21 miles east-southeast of Stapleton – the Arnold area. The exact epicenter varied with each quake, the USGS said.

On Tuesday, one quake occurred about 6:20 a.m., another about 6:30 a.m. and a third around 10:30 a.m., said Leron Bierman, an Arnold resident.

Bierman said the 4:30 a.m. quake Monday jolted she and her husband awake.

On Tuesday morning, her husband was in the barn feedking the animals on their hobby farm and felt the barn shake. In the house, Leron felt the house move. Jars on the first floor freezer rattled for a few seconds, but nothing fell, she said.

The 10:30 a.m. quake was “kind of a jolt,” she said, a sudden movement.

“It’s a freaky feeling,” she said Tuesday evening. “You feel kind of spooked. We’re hoping we don’t have another one tomorrow.”

Leron said when the quakes struck, there was not enough time to process the experience. At first, she wondered if one of her five children had fallen down the stairs or something. A period of wonderment followed. She said friends on Facebook began posting right away to talk about what happened.


Quakes on that scale typically cause weak to moderate shaking and little to no damage. Quakes of 5 to 6 magnitude can cause significant damage, according to U.S. Geological Survey information.

Earthquakes are rare in Nebraska, but far from unknown.

A quake was recorded in Arnold a year ago. Some observers point to evidence that the fault line might run into Oklahoma.

Leron Bierman said old timers in the Arnold area have been recalling other quakes through the years.

Since 1886, more than 55 earthquakes have originated in Nebraska and been felt by some residents, according to geologic records.

On Nov. 11, 2011, a quake occurred about 29 miles northwest of Chadron, at a depth of 3.1 miles with a magnitude of 3.7.

That quake was along a deep-seated fault had been recently discovered. At least five other earthquakes are known to have occurred near that same lineament between 1975 and 2009, all with magnitudes between 3-4.

On Dec. 20, 2005, a quake hit the Valentine area at 6:11 a.m. and registered 2.9 on the Richter scale. Just a few days earlier on Dec.16, a 2.5-magnitude quake struck near Newport in northern Rock County.

Other Nebraska earthquakes of note including one that shook parts of northwestern Nebraska and western South Dakota early Sunday, May 26, 2003, according to Bulletin archives.

That quake lasted 5-7 seconds and measured 4.4 on the Richter scale. It was centered about 30 miles northeast of Pine Ridge, S.D., the National Weather Service said.

Since 1886, more than 55 earthquakes have originated in Nebraska.

The earliest recorded earthquake in Nebraska occurred April 28, 1867, in Nebraska City.

One of the strongest occurred Nov. 15, 1877. It shook the entire state with two shocks, 45 minutes apart. At North Platte, the second shock was reported to have lasted 40 seconds, cracking walls and overturning printing cases.

That time, buildings rocked in Lincoln and walls were damaged in Columbus. The impact area covered approximately 360,000 square kilometers, including most of Nebraska and portions of Iowa, Kansas, the Dakotas, and northwestern Missouri.

In another quake at 8 p.m. March 17, 1884, North Platte residents felt the shaking that measured IV on the Modified Mercalli scale, which would translate to a 4.5 to 5.0 on the Richter scale.

In December 1916, Stapleton residents felt a tremor. Gothenburg residents felt one Sept. 24, 1924.

Cherry County residents have felt tremors as recently as May 7, 1978, Sept. 7, 1981, and Aug. 26, 1991, according to USGS records.