Numerous visitors have been left traumatized after suffering terrible experience back in 1959, as a massive 7.5 magnitude earthquake erupted in Madison Canyon, in the west part of the Yellowstone national park, and there are dreadful imaging that depicts the event taking place.
The Yellowstone caldera, hidden underneath the first-ever United States national park, is widely known as a supervolcano because of its capacity to produce damage on a global level. Found below the states of Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho, the massive volcano is continually monitored by the United States Geological Survey (USGS) for traces of a possible eruption.
A Disastrous Event
Although most of these occurrences are not close to the levels indicating a possible eruption, the 1959 Hebgen Lake earthquake that blew up on August 17th, 1959, was a totally different story.
The 7.5 magnitude earthquake ended up producing massive damage, including 28 fatalities and a giant $245 million today in repairs to highways and forests. Back in 2012, the US Forest Service uploaded a video on YouTube depicting the terrifying series of events through an animation.
The narrator said: “Just before midnight on August 17th, 1959, one of nature’s most terrifying forces was unleashed in this narrow canyon. An earthquake measuring 7.5 on the Richter scale jolted the ground, at the time, it was the fourth-strongest quake ever recorded in the United States. This computer animation shows the sequence of events that happened under the cover of darkness.”
According to the narrative, the epicenter of the quake, the Red Canyon, and Hebgen Lake Fault lines fissured and fell more than 20 feet. Three massive scarps broke through the Madison River Canyon, and within seconds, the earthquake produced the most damaging blow at the place where the canyon fells into the plains, as a gigantic block of canyon wall was cut off and began to slid with incredible speed and force into the Maddison River and towards the opposite canyon wall.
“The section of rock, three-quarts of a mile wide, hit the river like a platter dropping into a pan of water. The landslide displaced water in every direction, instantly, the slide dammed the river and water began to build-up behind the slide forming Earthquake Lake. At the same time this was happening, upstream another disaster was in the making. Hebgen Lake, created in 1915 when the Hebgen Dam was built, was sloshing over its banks, like water in a pale,” the video narrator explained.
A Second Disaster
The landslide made massive amounts of water to drench anyone camping in the area. When the north portion of the lake fell about 20 feet, gigantic waves known as seiches were created. These waves overtopped the barrier and ended up in the river downstream. The massive damage happened in seconds.
The documentary continued describing the utter panic of those trying to escape the disaster.
It narrated: “The Hebgen Lake Earthquake struck on a calm, clear, moonlit night at the peak of the tourist season in Yellowstone. That night, at least 18,000 people were in the park, and around the region, campgrounds and local motels were filled to capacity.”
“The quake rocked the land so violently that travelers awoke to sheer terror, many hearing the roar of the rockslide, the crashing of the huge waves and the rumbling of car-sized boulders tumbling off the canyon walls. As Earthquake Lake quickly began to fill, frightened campers had to flee for their lives, but the road they had driven in on was now cracked into pieces,” the narrator detailed.
Numerous deaths were recorded, but 250 people managed to survive as they rushed uphill away from the water.