The Earthquake Lake Visitor Center in West Yellowstone, Montana: A Geological Area as Exhibition and Commemoration Space

It was near midnight on August 17th, 1959 when an earthquake near the Madison River triggered a massive landslide.  The slide moved at 100 mph and in less than 1 minute, over 80 million tons of rock crashed into the narrow canyon, blocking the Madison River and forming Earthquake Lake.  This earth- changing event, known as the Hebgen Lake Earthquake, measured 7.5 on the Richter scale.   At the time it was the second largest earthquake to occur in the lower 48 states in the 20th century. Twenty-eight people lost their lives in the event.

In 1967, the Forest Service’s Earthquake Lake Visitor Center opened its doors for the first season of operation.  Today, the Center provides interpretive services for more than 50,000 visitors annually.  The natural attractions and the easily- seen effects of the strongest earthquake in the Rocky Mountains make this area one of the outstanding scenic and geological study areas in the west.

The Earthquake Lake Visitor Center is located 27 miles northwest of West Yellowstone, Montana on US Highway 287.  It is 44 miles south of Ennis, MT and 99 miles southwest of Bozeman, MT.

The center provides a panoramic view of the mountain that fell and the lake that was formed.  This facility hosts interpretive displays on earthquakes, plate tectonics, and a working seismograph.  In the observatory, scheduled movies and talks, explain the story of the 1959 Hebgen Lake Earthquake.  There are outside interpretive signs and a walking path to the Memorial Boulder.

The Earthquake Lake Visitor Center is open May 22 through September 13, 2015.  Hours of operation 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.  Open daily.

Via USDA Forest Service

IMG_5230 IMG_5231 IMG_5232 IMG_5233 IMG_5234 IMG_5235 IMG_5236 IMG_5237 IMG_5238 IMG_5239 IMG_5240 IMG_5241 IMG_5242 IMG_5243 IMG_5244 IMG_5245 IMG_5246 IMG_5247 IMG_5248 IMG_5249 IMG_5250 IMG_5251 IMG_5252 IMG_5253 IMG_5257 IMG_5258

IMG_5261
The land was raised up to 21 feet in some areas. Here is some scarping of the terrain caused by the uplift.
IMG_5260
Here is more scarping of the terrain caused by the uplift.
IMG_5259
Ghostly dead trees still stand held to the soil flooded after the earthquake in 1959, in the place appropriately called Earthquake Lake.

Photos by Cranium Corporation (2015)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s