EARTHQUAKE LAKE was created after an apocalyptic seismic event, known as the 1959 Yellowstone Earthquake, that blocked the Madison River in Southern Montana.
The 6-mile long QUAKE LAKE developed within few weeks in August 1959. Yes this is crazy!
Quake Lake, officially known as Earthquake Lake, is located in southwestern Montana. As you will discover, It is nothing but an ordinary lake. Its formation is linked to a violent seismic event and still intrigues geologists and disaster chasers.
This 190 feet (58 m) deep and 6 miles (9.7 km) long lake was indeed created after an earthquake that struck on August 17, 1959, killing 28 people.
In August of 1959, a 7.3 earthquake, known as the 1959 Hebgen Lake earthquake or the 1959 Yellowstone Earthquake, triggered a giant landslide, which released 80 million tons of rock debris into the Madison River Canyon. A landslide dam formed and blocked the raging river. This sudden earthquake and landslide surprised campers along the river and the Hebgen Lake. Faulting caused by the quake shifted the lake violently. Geysers started erupting into the sky. The earth’s crust underneath Hebgen Lake dropped 19 ft. in a matter of seconds. Three sections of Highway 287 tumbled into the water. As recently in Japan (Ontake volcanic eruption), hundreds of vacationers were trapped, and 28 lives were lost in the chaos.
The Hebgen Lake dam miraculously held up and was repaired within a few weeks. But the rubble had blocked the Madison River downstream from the dam. In less than a month, Quake Lake emerged. And the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers had to enact one of the largest mobilizations in the western U.S. to construct a spillway for relief.
Nowadays, all is calm. The Quake Lake is established. The Hebgen Lake dam is holding fast. The 38,000 acres of canyon are now known as the “Madison River Canyon Earthquake Area.”