The park is home to the threatening Yellowstone Caldera – a supervolcano that gets its name from its potential for global catastrophe in the event of an eruption. This area, located below the states of Wyoming, Montana and Idaho, is constantly monitored by the USGS (United States Geological Survey) for signs that such an eruption is on its way. However, on the evening of August 17, 1959, Hepburn Lake was taken into custody by geologists during a landslide that would inevitably create a new lake on the Madison River following the landslide.
The catastrophic 7.5 magnitude earthquake killed 28 people and caused more than 9 million m (today £ 200 or 6,266 million) damage.
Historian Larry Morris recalls the minute-by-minute saga in his book The 1959 Yellowstone Earthquake Disaster.
Describing an account, he wrote: “Air Force Warrant Officer Victor James said: ‘I heard a terrible noise.
“’I saw the whole mountain collapsing. It was bad.
“‘I saw a lot of fighting during World War II, but I never heard a roar like this.’
According to the text, another survivor said: “The roar sounded like the end of the world.”
Mr Morris elaborated on how one of the audience got into the death throes.
He added: “Montana’s Madison River Canyon, Irene and Burley (Pud) Bennett and their four children settled in a few hours ago and saw a wonderful moonlight while they slept.
“Then Irene and Pudum woke up to an ‘incredible noise’.
“whats going on?” He stood up, but was caught in the murmur of wind, rocks and water.
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“Then the landslide fell into the Madison River, slashing the river from its bed, injuring 30 feet of waves up and down.”
The campers felt the full force of the waves.
When the Madison River relocated, a large wall of muddy water and debris blew over their camp.
Mr Morris added: “The Bennett family, who were camping downhill, were affected by one of the tsunamis.
“When she arrived, Irene was face down on the riverbank, not fitted under a pine tree, and it was shivering wet and cold.
“Her whole body was bruised and bloody, and her lips were swollen.”
Fortunately the Bennett family was rescued by emergency personnel who responded to the disaster.
Today, tourists to the area can stop by the Earthquake Lake Observatory, located 27 miles north of Yellowstone, to alleviate the horrors of half a century ago.
The ‘1959 Yellowstone Earthquake Disaster’ was published by The History Press in 2016 and is available for purchase here.