the point where the West Fork of the Madison enters the Madison River itself. As we turned west on County #1 we headed along the south shore of massive Lake Hebgen . There we, Mrs. T, Gary, Rosie and I would stop at a lookout and I would tell them about an amazing geological event that I had first seen on TV . It was
the summer of 1959 shortly after my graduation from high school. Two years previous to that event I, my younger brothers and parents had visited the selfsame area on our first trip to Yellowstone National Park. Come on along…..
from our vantage point at some geese and lots of dead trees, a bald eagle flew over us. “Do you see that bare
area on the hill we’re looking at across the lake. Well, actually, that’s a mountain across Quake Lake”. It was there,
over 50 years ago, that
a very strong earthquake in the area caused the side of the mountain to
collapse. It blocked the Madison River
below Lake Hebgin and its earthen dam. The
initial shock ( they last for
hours) caused a twenty foot tidal wave to
top and seriously damage the earthen dam which created Lake Hebgen and
and then roared into the canyon below at same time as the mountain
collapsed. In the process it buried, with 80 million tons of rubble,
people who were camping in a National Forest Service campground at the base of the mountain. The slide blocked the river to create Quake Lake. Survivors were trapped as roads & buildings throughout the area were damaged and destroyed. A eighty year old woman awaken by a rumble went to her front door and managed to leap to safety with her dog as her house
fell away underneath here into the lake (yes the dog survived as well). A
massive rescue effort began that morning to save the trapped and the injured.
As I was writing up this post about a famous earthquake my thoughts were drawn to the power of mother nature and stories I had read of the survivors and rescuers of the Montana/Yellowstone .
My sons family has a similar story. He and his wife went to Haiti several years back now to help after the massive earthquake which destroyed so much of that country.
The picture below shows their family. One from Fargo, North Dakota, one from Ethiopia, one Rwanda and one from Haiti, who survived being buried in the ruble of that catastrophe for three days. Unable to walk she was brought to Denver Childrens hospital for two major operations. She can walk to school now and argues with her new siblings over whose turn it is to ride a bike....