Idaho April 17, 2020
The Recent Earthquake Has Permanently Changed Idaho’s Iconic Sawtooth Mountain Range
The 6.5-magnitude earthquake that reverberated through Idaho on March 31st, 2020 left a lasting impact not only on the memories of who endured it but the landscapes that it forever altered. You can expect at least some geologic change from any earthquake—big or small—and the recent quake was no different. Most notably, the late-March earthquake forever changed Idaho’s iconic Sawtooth Mountain skyline, specifically one of the range’s most distinctive rock formations.
As the second strongest earthquake ever recorded in the state, Idaho's recent earthquake was definitely an experience that left a lasting impression. In fact, it forever changed the landscape of the Sawtooth Mountains.
The mountain town of Stanley was closest to the quake's epicenter, which was somewhere in the Challis National Forest. Thankfully, the town itself didn't report any damage but the same couldn't be said for one of Idaho's most iconic mountain ranges. The earthquake was responsible for the collapse of a few notable rock formations located within the Sawtooth's iconic silhouette.
A formation known as the Arrowhead, a noticeably jagged rock formation shaped like an arrowhead's point, completely collapsed. It may have been one of the least popular rock climbing routes within the range, but its rugged shape was known and loved by many.
Those who did make the climb up the Arrowhead would note just how thin the rock formation appeared. During a strong gust of wind, the fin-like formation was known to whistle and move back and forth.
Another notable formation that was hit during the earthquake was the more popular Finger of Fate. The formation itself is fine, but according to
Idaho Mountain Express, a couple of summit blocks fell during the quake's movement.
Additionally, the earthquake caused several avalanches across the Sawtooth mountain range. Avalanche danger was already high that day due to the recent dumping of up to three feet of new snow. Stanley residents reported the loud rumble of avalanches taking place, but nobody was hurt.
Although it's unfortunate that these few rock formations will no longer be part of the Sawtooth skyline, it's important to remember that this is all geologic history in the making. It'll take a lot more than a single earthquake to detract from the Sawtooth's rugged beauty!
How do you feel about the loss of the Sawtooth skyline as you knew it? It’s all part of geologic history! Learn more about this fantastic region of Idaho when you read about
the charming mountain town of Stanley that’s beyond perfect.