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Earthquake Lake Visitor Center

Contact Info
USDA Forest Service
Highway 191
PO Box 520
West Yellowstone, MT 59758



On August 17th, 1959 an earthquake near the Madison River triggered a massive landslide. The slide moved at 100 m.p.h. 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 third largest earthquake to occur in the lower 48 states. 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, and this area continues to be of great scientific and general interest.

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The Visitor Center is located 27 miles northwest of West Yellowstone, Montana on Highway 287.

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