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Montana Lakes: Hebgen Lake
Madison River Canyon Earthquake Area
 
 
The 1959 earthquake in Yellowstone National Park has left behind reminders visible today. Here are some spots to view, based on Forest Service information:
 1.

Spillway. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers cut a spillway across the slide. On Sept. 10, 1959, water passed through the 250-foot-wide, 14-foot-deep channel. It was deepened to 54 feet on Oct. 17, 1959.

 2.

Visitor center and slide. Tourists can view the slide from the observation room of the visitor center. Listen to an interpreter's story or walk the trail to Memorial Boulder and an overlook.

 3.

Rock Creek Turnout. A Forest Service campground lies under 100 feet of water just off this point. Rising waters killed some campers, while others escaped.

 4.

Earthquake Lake. The slide dammed the Madison River to form Earthquake Lake, which filled in three weeks and formed a new body of water 190 feet deep and 6 miles long.

 5.

Boat Launch. The public is still served by this portion of the old highway, although much of the old roadway lies beneath Earthquake Lake.

 6.

Refuge Point. The ridge provided protection during the night of Aug. 17, 1959, for many quake survivors. The next morning, FS smokejumpers parachuted to the point to set up rescue operations. Later that days, survivors were evacuated by helicopter.

 7.

Ghost Village. Deserted cabins were displaced here from the waters of Earthquake Lake.

 8.

Cabin Creek Scarp.A 21-foot fault severed the old campground at this site.

 9.

Hebgen Dam. Though damaged by tremors and earthquake-caused waves, the earthfill dam held.

10.

Building destruction. Take a short walk through this area, and you can see the old resort cabins submerged in Hebgen Lake.

11.

Road destruction. This is one of three places where the road collapsed into Hebgen Lake. Along the old roadbed, you can see where land shifted during the 1959 quake.

12.

Red Canyon. View the fault scarp that extends 14 miles in this area. A fault scarp is a cliff created by movement along a fault.

13.

Duck Creek Y. The epicenter of the quake occurred here.



 

Historical Note:

The Largest United States earthquake with a magnitude of 7.5  happened on August 17, 1959. Twenty -eight people died and caused 11 million dollars property damage. Location Hebgen Lake. 

 
 

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