Anniversary of historic earthquake in Yellowstone

Events commemorate the quake that killed 28 in Yellowstone

MONTANA LIVING — It was 60 years ago that an earthquake rattled Yellowstone National Park and killed 28 people.

With the 60th anniversary of the temblor, the Gallatin National Forest will have several events at the Earthquake Lake Visitor Center commemorating the historic event. The 7.3-magnitude earthquake not only killed 28 people, it triggered a landslide that blocked the Madison River and formed the lake northwest of West Yellowstone.

The earthquake happened Aug. 17, 1959.

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The schedule is as follows:

Aug. 3 and Aug. 10 — occurring on two Saturdays in August at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. — guided landslide walk to Memorial Boulder. A short, handicap accessible walk will tell the story of the earthquake and provide stunning views of the surrounding landscape. Visitors can choose to do a short hike (one-eighth mile) to Memorial Boulder or continue on an unpaved gravel path on Landslide Trail (about 1 mile).

Aug. 8 at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. — interpretive afternoon with Leslie Quinn and Mike Stickney (1 p.m.) — and shake, rattle and roll: 60 years since the Hebgen Lake Earthquake (3 p.m.)

Aug. 16 at 2 p.m. — guest speaker, Jamie Farrell, assistant professor of seismograph stations, University of Utah, visitors center

Aug. 17 at 10:30 a.m. — Memorial service at Memorial Boulder with Pastor Benny McCraken followed by memories from survivors. Rock Creek Campground survivors will share their stories from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Book signing by Larry Morris, “1959 Yellowstone Earthquake,” and Anita Painter Thon, “Shaken in the Night,” will happen throughout the day.

Aug. 18 at 11 a.m. — Wildfire smokejumper practice jump at Refuge Point. Smokejumpers were one of the first to help survivors. View a jump in action and walk the 2.5-mile trail around Refuge Point. Bring bear spray, water and a picnic lunch to enjoy the day with family.

For more information, call the visitors center at 406-682-7620.

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