Stories Of The Paranormal, The Unexplained, And All Things Incredible

May 17, 2011

Montana-Yellowstone Earthquake

One of the benefits of living in a rural setting is that people cleverly use the garbage transfer station as a recycling depot of sorts. Boxes and bags of reusable items are often left at the side for other to go through and take as they need. The other day I picked up this book out of the box. The Night the Mountain Fell by Edmund Christopherson.

I had never heard of the Montana-Yellowstone earthquake before but now that Yellowstone appears to be gaining in activity again it has caught my interest.
The story, of course, is one of major tragedy. On Monday, August 17, 1959. It was almost midnight when the 7.4 (some say 7.8) earthquake struck in Madison Canyon. A gigantic tidal wave, 20 feet high, sloshed over the top of the Hebgen Dam. Half of a 7,600 ft mountain came crashing down. 80 million tons of mud, rocks (some the size of houses) and debris came tumbling down creating hurricane force winds.

Campers at the Forest Service campgrounds and vacationers at dude ranches and local residents were caught. Mrs. Grace Miller, a seventy-year-old widow who ran the Hillgard Fishing Lodge woke up and dashed out of her cabin, jumping over a five-foot crevise which had appeared outside of her front door before her home dropped into Hegben Lake.

Many died but many more were rescued.

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