Historic Earthquakes

Hebgen Lake, Montana
1959 08 18 06:37:15 UTC (local 08/17)
Magnitude 7.3
Intensity X

Largest Earthquake in Montana

Damage Photos

Damage Photos: 1   2   3

Photo of earthquake
Southeastward view of the source area of the Madison Slide. This view shows several of the unbroken dolomite remnants. It was dolomite buttresses comparable to these which broke and resulted in the slide. August 1959.

Photo of earthquake
General view of the sand spouts (Sand Volcano) that were formed near the Parade Rest Ranch. Wooded patch in the background marks the course of Grayling Creek. Gallatin County, Montana. August 1959.

Photo of earthquake
Overal view of the Madison River slide from Earthquake Lake side. The main mass of the slide covered by trees and soil is in the center of the photograph. The dolomite debris that acted as the leading edge of the slide is in the right center. The source area of the slide is in the upper left corner, with the steeply dipping schist beds showing along the ridge line. Madison County, Montana. August 1959.

Photo of earthquake
Seiche marks on the walls of a unit at Hilgard Lodge. These water marks indicate the height and number of waves which passed this particular site. Gallatin County, Montana. August 1959.

Photo of earthquake
Oblique aerial view of Madison Canyon landslide from over Earthquake Lake somewhat east of drowned toe of slide. Photograph was taken after preparation of spillway had begun. Madison County, Montana. 1959.

Photo of earthquake
Aerial view of Madison Canyon slide with Earthquake Lake in background. Hebgen fault crosses dark forested spur near head of lake. Madison County, Montana. August 1959.

Photo of earthquake
One of the large cracks in the concrete retaining wall of Hebgen Dam. The retaining wall, which is about 16 inches thick at the top and about 27 inches thick at the base, has a great many cracks in it of which 3 or 4 were as large as this one. The retaining wall slumped, tilted forward, and was fractured during the earthquake; water seeped through these fractures. Gallatin County, Montana. August 1959.

Damage Photos: 1   2   3

Photos from the Earth Science Photographs from the U.S. Geological Survey Library, by Joseph K. McGregor and Carl Abston, U.S. Geological Survey Digital Data Series DDS-21, 1995.