August 17, 2019, marks the 60 year anniversary of the 7.3 magnitude earthquake that hit Hebgen Lake northwest of West Yellowstone.

The massive earthquake sent 80 million tons of earth, rocks and trees down the mountainside in just two seconds. It killed 28 people, wiped out campgrounds, stranded 250 people, and formed a new lake now called Earthquake Lake.
"The lake is now 124 feet deep, so it's a deep lake," said Joanne Girvan, visitors services information assistant at Earthquake Lake Visitor Center. "Before that, it was probably just a three-foot river... at one time it was 190 feet deep. So we will probably lose the lake in 300 to 1,000 years, so it's a very slow drain."

The Earthquake Lake Visitor Center will hold activities this weekend in memory of the earthquake and those impacted by the destruction.

Saturday, Aug. 17, at 10:30 a.m. at Memorial Boulder Pastor Benny McCraken will lead a memorial service. Following the service survivors from Rock Creek Campground will share their stories until 1:30 p.m. at the visitor center.

"These folks were right there where the landslide occurred, the rising water and some of those folks have lost family members and some of them have campers and cars under the water at Quake Lake," Girvan said.

Authors Larry Morris and Anita Painter Thon will sign their books, "1959 Yellowstone Earthquake" and "Shaken in the Night" throughout the day.

Sunday, Aug. 18 at 11 a.m. smokejumpers will give a reenactment at Refuge Point. The smokejumpers were the first to help the survivors. They were able to jump into the area where they were stranded to give them food and first aid. One of the jumpers in 1959, Lowell Hanson, will be among those at the event.

The U.S. Air Force will also land a helicopter at the visitor center on Saturday morning.

For more information about the events or Earthquake Lake, read more on the United States Department of Agriculture website.