Hebgen Lake Quake Billings Gazette, 1959


No Damage Reported; Montanans Awakened By Rolling Temblor Which Averages 30 Seconds In Duration; Washington, Wyoming Also Hit

Downtown Billings swayed and houses shook sharply throughout the Billings area at 11:40 p.m. Monday when a moderate earthquake swept through the area. There were no immediate reports of damage.
A second tremor of less intensity rolled through this section of the state at 11:47 p.m. There were tremors in Columbus, Helena and as far as Basin, Powell, Shell and Greybull, Wyo., according to early reports. Residents throughout this area notified the Gazette of trembling doors, rolling beds, rattling dishes and jumping furniture. Lew Barton, 2511 Arvin Rd., said "my house shook like a leaf."
The quake was believed to have taken a north to south course. Two minutes after the tremor was felt at the U.S. Weather Bureau at Logan Field, it was felt in the 220 block on Ave. B. Hundreds of residents of this area were awakened by the first sharp tremor at 11:40. Light fixtures in the Gazette newsroom swung as in a strong August wind and the entire building shook perceptibly. The weather bureau reported there was no seismograph or other recording instruments in the Billings area.
The first tremor, according to the weather bureau, lasted "from 30 to 45 seconds," and the second was of shorter duration. Ralph Gumpf, chief weather bureau forecaster, was awakened at his home by the tremor. He said he believed the last such quake struck Billings about 10 years ago.
Gumpf said that special forms showing duration and intensity of the tremor would be forwarded to offices in Bozeman. Epicenter of the last previous quake was at Dillon, he reported.
Sheriff Roy Stewart's office said no reports of damage had been received. Deputies patrolled the rimrocks and found numerous rocks had been loosened and rolled down but said there were none on the road to the airport.
Billings hotels were in confusion following the tremor. Guests at the Northern, especially in rooms on the upper floors, sought refuge in the lobby.
One man emerged dressed only in trousers and shoes. Several women appeared in nightgowns. On the ninth floor, two women were in a state of near hysteria, as they paced the hall and sought advice as to where they could find safety.
"I came all the way from California to have this happen to me," one woman said.
At the Custer Hotel a number of guests fled to the street.
The Motor-Vu Drive-In theater saw an exit of customers when the quake hit. A dozen frightened car owners drove away at once. Others got out of their cars to see if their tires were flat.
"It hit so hard out there that the rocks in the gravel drive jumped up and down," said Greg Kemp, 619 Avenue F.
Dick Koch, 1105 Central Ave., was another witness of the excitement at the theater. He hurried to the Gazette office to report the phenomenon.
Taverns, the busiest places in town at that hour of the night, accepted the shake with mixed emotions. A tipsy customer weaved his way out of one on Montana Ave., and announced:
"That's the last time I'll ever touch the stuff."
He was brushed aside by a man hurrying back in who commanded the bartender:
"Quick! Give me another one."
Ray Wittmer, 610 S. 31st St., reported "my whole house shook and the doors were swinging. I think it lasted about a minute or longer."
A draftsman working on plans at the Billings Sash and Door Co. reported the desk on which he was working vibrated through the "big shake."
Ishmael Yost said that his house shook, and doors and dishes rattled. He resides seven miles west of Billings on the Laurel Rd.
On Beck Drive, a resident reported the swimming pool "completely overflowed onto the patio."
At 932 Ave. B, a woman said, "Our house sure shook like the dickens."
City Librarian Ann Whitmack, who said "I've been in 'em before, said, "I don't know when I've been in one as prolonged. You wake up with the dishes rattling and the house shaking . . ."
Mrs. Gilbert Rhodes, 744 Lake Elmo Drive, said the tremor "just shook a chest of drawers to beat the band. I thought it was a big windstorm."
At 1128 North 25th St, the residents said "it felt as though the house were rocking."
Angelo Dimich at 212 Fairpark Drive said he was lying in bed when the tremor hit. "I've been in earthquakes before in Los Angeles and San Francisco but this one lasted quite awhile. Some closet doors and things in the kitchen were rattling."
W. W. Boger at 2618 Sunnyview said a few vases were knocked down.
Robert Busby, 2234 Fox Drive, said "Out where they're building the new high school," the quake lasted 30 seconds, and though he'd never been through one before, he's had them described and was "quite sure that's what that was."
Mrs. Val Schwan woke up at 2107 Virginia Lane and said she heard something pop in the house but couldn't find anything disturbed.
Ole Helland at Shepherd said he awoke to find the bed shaking but thought his 21-year-old daughter "was just playing tricks." He said his wife was praying when the tremor began moving pictures on the walls and shaking doors.
Kathryn Wright, Gazette society editor, said at her home 10 miles west of Billings that her swimming pool had waves "four to six inches high, not sharp, short waves but great, undulating rolls." All the neighbor's children and stock woke up, she said, and were "squawking their heads off."
At St. Vincent's Hospital, nurse's aide Kay Harte said the building "just rattled." She said the "patients were just as scared as we were" but no damage or upsets were noted.
Mrs. J. H. Patton said in Red Lodge she felt two tremors in a "good shaking."
[Billings Gazette; August 18, 1959]

Natural Wonders Of Park Undamaged By Quake; Accommodations Open Except Old Faithful Inn; Persons Trapped By Slides Have Ample Food

All Yellowstone National Park entrances are open except the West entrance, L. A. Garrison, park superintendent, told the Billings Chamber of Commerce in a telephone call Tuesday following severe earthquakes in the area.
No travel is possible along the west side of Yellowstone, between Mammoth and Old Faithful, because of slides and damage to bridges, Garrison said. The cutoff road from Canyon to Norris Junction, running east and west across the center of the park, also is closed by a slide.
All accommodations in the park are open except Old Faithful Inn, which was evacuated after the quake broke water mains and damaged a chimney.
Highway 191 was reported open between Bozeman and the park, but blocked inside the park because of damage to bridges.
No injuries were reported inside the park, Garrison said. He added that there was no panic. He said that August 18 is the date which normally sees the greatest number of visitors housed in park accommodations.
Thermal activity is normal, he said. Some park streams are muddied by slides.
Some persons camped on Indian Creek between Mammoth and Norris were caught between slides blocking the main road, but could leave by following a forest trail, he said. However, they were remaining in the area and reported ample supplies of food.
Bridge Damaged
Officials of the Cop Construction Co. in Billings said Tuesday they had reports of damage to a $100,000 steel and concrete bridge in Yellowstone Park as a result of the earthquake.
Tom Dolan, general manager, said a Yellowstone Park ranger told Bill Kapptie, Cop superintendent in Gardiner, the quake had caused settlement and cracking in an abutment to the Gibbon River bridge.
No damage was sustained to the company's other two Park projects, a housing development at Mammoth Hot Springs, and a bridge across the Lewis River, Dolan said.
Work proceeded Tuesday as usual on the two jobs, the Cop spokesman said.
[Billings Gazette; August 19, 1959]

Inn Is Evacuated, East Wing And Main Lobby Are Closed

By Don Anderson
President, Lee Newspapers of Montana
OLD FAITHFUL, YELLOWSTONE PARK, Wyo.--Heaviest damage in Yellowstone Park from Monday night's devastating earthquake centered in the Old Faithful area where panic-stricken guests poured out of Old Faithful Inn, many of them climbing into their cars and fleeing from the park in terror.
Tremors shook the area throughout the night and the quake topped off its performance with four more shocks during the breakfast hour.
Inn Is Evacuated
Old Faithful Inn was evacuated. But Tuesday night Mrs. Anderson and I were among half a dozen guests permitted to occupy rooms in the west wing of the hostelry.
When the earthquake hit the area, guests poured from the structure in panic. Rocks fell from the huge fireplace chimney in the center lodge and shocks left the fireplace about eight inches out of plumb.
The Yellowstone Park Transportation Co. dispatched eight buses to the Inn and evacuated many to the Old Faithful recreation hall at the lodge.
No Meals Served
The east wing and the main lobby were closed off because of the damage. A few rooms were left available in the west wing but no meals were being served.
Shortly before the tremor hit, 800 people were assembled in the recreation hall to witness a beauty contest. Moments after the queen had been crowned and she was walking down the aisle to the plaudits of the crowd, the first, mighty shock hit.
Every one in the place dashed for the door.
Hardy Rescuer
Jackie Yoigen, a waitress at the Inn from Detroit, Mich., had a date with a park ranger Monday night and the two were together when the first tremor shook the area.
"Goodie, goodie," Jackie cried, "I'm glad I've got someone to rescue me."
The ranger quickly dropped the girl's hand and rushed to the door--to open it so that people would not be killed or injured in the crush to leave the building.
Thousands of tourists have left for fear of their lives but an equal number of the curious have come into the park to view the damage.
There was an unconfirmed report that geysers have been showing greater activity and that some which have been long inactive have begun to spout.
Blocked Routes Listed
Highways No. 1 and 191, the first up the Madison River and the other up the Gallatin, were reported closed except for excavation purposes.
These routes were blocked: Canyon to Norris, Mammoth to Madison Junction, and Old Faithful to Madison Junction and West Yellowstone.
Huge rock slides in Firehole Canyon blocked the road between Canyon and Madison Junction and it will require about two weeks to open this route.
The east end of the park was not damaged as badly as other sections, it was reported.
[Billings Gazette; August 19, 1959]



Mrs. Margaret Holmes, 72, 515 Broadwater Ave., was reported Tuesday night to have died in a Bozeman hospital of injuries received in the Hebgen Lake area during Monday night's devastating earthquake.
With her daughter, Miss Verona Holmes of the same address, were reported to have left Billings a week ago on a camping trip in the area.
At least six other Billings residents were among the known campers who were injured when the quakes brought death and destruction to the Madison River Canyon.
Mr. And Mrs. Warren Steele of 615 S. 36th St., were among injured who were flown out by helicopters from West Yellowstone to Bozeman. According to reports received here, Steele suffered cuts and bruises. His wife was reported suffering from chest injuries.
Also injured and hospitalized were Mr. and Mrs. Anton Schreiber of 432 Broadwater Ave., and their daughter, Bonnie, 7, who was reported suffering from a cut on the head. Extent of injuries of Mr. and Mrs. Schreiber was not known.
Mr. and Mrs. George Horning of 105 Brickyard Lane, Mr. and Mrs. Bernie Boynton of 2532 Longfellow Pl. and John R. Davis, no Billings address available, were all reported to have been fishing in the Hebgen Lake or Ennis area and latest reports were that none of them had been heard from since the quake.
The Gazette received a report that 167 persons had been evacuated from the stricken area by private cars and reached Bozeman late Tuesday night. They were to be housed at Montana State College. The Red Cross at Bozeman made arrangements for the rescue.
The people will be "processed" and names of next of kin obtained. The party successfully negotiated the treacherous Duck Creek "wye" area.
Rush Plasma, Drugs
Antibiotics and blood plasma was rushed to Bozeman late Tuesday afternoon for use at the Bozeman Deaconess Hospital. Some of the emergency shipment will probably be taken to emergency stations at the scene of the destruction.
William Lambrecht, manager of McKesson & Robbins Billings wholesale outlet, said Tuesday five cases of antibiotics and antibiotic dusting powder and plasma from Billings hospitals were sent to Bozeman by bus. Lambrecht said members of his staff would remain on duty all during the night to answer further calls for emergency medical supplies.
"We still have some antibiotics supplies on hand although the bulk of them was sent out Tuesday afternoon," Lambrecht said.
Billings hospitals Tuesday night had not received any requests from Bozeman to handle any of the injury cases. Preparations have been made however at both the Billings Deaconess and St. Vincent hospitals to set disaster plans into operation to care for the injured if necessary.
Both hospitals anticipating the possibility of some cases being brought to Billings for possible treatment that could not be provided at Bozeman.
Although the Yellowstone County Chapter, American Red Cross, still hadn't been ordered to begin moving emergency disaster equipment into the area, its volunteers were busy Tuesday night with a message center operation.
Bernard Dahl, chapter disaster chairman, said facilities have been set up to relay messages to determine the whereabouts of people in the earthquake area.
"We already have located some people and the chapter office will handle all requests from persons seeking to find out about relatives who might be in the area. We also stand ready to do our utmost to report on the condition of those who are injured. A call to the Red Cross office is all that is necessary," Dahl said.
He reported that the ARC had received a message that Oscar Bjorgum, 141 Grand Ave., had escaped injury in the quake. Bjorgum said he would remain in the area to assist with the rescue work.
Dahl also said the ARC Pacific area office had informed him that it has dispatched four staff members to the quake area. Chapters in the immediate vicinity are preparing to take care of the refugee load. A communications expert, along with Joseph Hladecek, Pacific area director, was flown to Bozeman to set up a special communication system for handling locator messages.
Hundreds of residents were awakened Monday night as the tremors, the first felt here in a decade, shook buildings, moved beds and caused doors in homes to sway.
According to descriptions of quakes available at the city library, the intensity of the tremors in Billings was about 5--sufficient to rattle dishes and crack plaster. No official report on the intensity is available here because of lack of seismological instruments.
No major property damage has been reported in the area. Mrs. Frank Robinson of 619 S. Broadway reported to the city building inspector's office that the tremors opened a crack in the stucco on the outside wall of her home. Plaster was reported cracked in several residences.
T. E. Duke, city building inspector, said there were no reports of any major structural damage to buildings in Billings.
"There are a few indications of some cracks in plaster and in wooden lath which probably was about to break anyway," Duke said. "The quake probably helped it along."
No damage along the Zimmerman Trail or the Airport Road had been reported to the county surveyor's office.
Road Is Safe
Undersheriff Don Davison said he was surprised the quake did not dislodge some of the larger boulders teetering above the Airport Road.
"We sent a man up there Monday night," Davison said, "and it was not too bad at all."
The undersheriff said some small rocks--"none larger than a water bucket"--had rolled to the edge of the road about midway between the valley and the top of the rims.
Most prisoners in the county jail, apparently slept right through the tremors, Davison said.
One exception was an Indian who told Jailer Paul Gahagen he was lying on his bunk "and all of a sudden the walls were shaking."
Frank Swenson, Geological Survey employee, said he heard a dull rumble with the Monday night tremors from his home at 941 Rimrock Rd.
Water System Okay
The city water department reported pressure gauge readings were normal which indicated there were no major breaks in city water mains. Possibility of small breaks was not ruled out but department officials pointed they would take a while to show up.
Montana Dakota Utilities Co. reported all gas lines in operation and no breaks have been reported in their system in Billings or south to northern Wyoming points.
Reports received by Elmer Neilsen, MDU superintendent, Tuesday from Wyoming points said the tremors were apparently lighter in intensity in the Powell and Lovell areas. Light fixtures swayed at plants in the Elk Basin area during the Monday night shake.
George Scotten, division manager for the Montana Power Co. said Tuesday no damage had been reported to electrical lines. There were sharp tremors felt Monday night at the company's Mystic Lake power plant.
Check Mystic Dam
Crews went immediately to check on the condition of the Mystic Lake dam high above the power plant community. Monday night's check and one again Tuesday morning did not show any damage to the installation, Scotten ...(missing)
(missing)...Red Lodge-Cooke City Highway, Ralph Weagel, secretary of the Red Lodge Chamber of Commerce, said.
Weagel said no slides had been reported on the mountain highway and the park service patrols were operating in the area.
"We have received no word to close the highway and we are sure through our communication setup that we would be notified immediately of any difficulties," Weagel said.
Weagel said tremors were felt in Red Lodge Monday night and again Tuesday morning. He heard of no damage in that area.
Billings Police Chief C. E. Maness said all highway patrolmen in the Billings area had been ordered to the Madison River area to cope with the earthquake emergency.
Sheriff Roy R. Stewart ordered his force to take over investigation of all highway accidents in Yellowstone county after he learned all highway patrolmen had been diverted elsewhere.
At least one off-duty deputy was called in to help with the work, Stewart said.
The Montana Highway Commission in Billings said no request had been received to move road equipment from this division to the stricken area. Equipment from Bozeman has been moved in. The Billings Division had been requested not to use its radio transmitting facilities to avoid interference with operations out of Bozeman.
The Weather Bureau was still handling earthquake calls Tuesday.
Ralph Gumpf, chief meteorologist, said people are still calling to confirm whether or not there had been an earthquake. Requests have also come in for earthquake forecasts.
"We have to tell people that earthquakes are just a little out of our line when it comes to forecasting. All we do is collect data on them," Gumpf said.
Several tornado-conscious Billings residents reported they headed for the basements of their homes when the tremors struck Monday night. They realized after it was all over that basements are not places to seek haven in an earthquake.
[Billings Gazette; August 19, 1959]

Death And Devastation

By Leo Carper, Billings Photographer,
as told to Addison R. Bragg
When I left Billings Tuesday morning for the earthquake scene I counted on seeing some devastation and wreckage--but I never thought I'd see a mountain literally pushed down into a valley.
We were a little way out of Ennis, headed toward West Yellowstone, when we noticed what looked like smoke coming up out of the Madison Valley. When we got closer we realized it wasn't smoke at all but dust kicked up by landslides that were still occurring down below us.
Sees Huge Slide
Then, as our plane followed a bend in the valley, I saw the biggest, ugliest looking pile of dirt I think I've ever seen. There it was, a thousand feet below us, a whitish pile of rock with a lot of pine trees mixed in with the rubble and the gaping scar in the side of the mountain left when it slid down to block the river and the road through the valley.
I didn't even realize what I was looking at until I saw the river, stopped short by the huge pile, and the road which disappeared under it.
It must have been almost two miles wide and hundreds of feet deep.
Later at West Yellowstone I talked to a highway patrolman about it. He told me if there was anybody in there at the time it happened, they'll never be found.
New Slides Occur
As we were landing at the West Yellowstone strip we noticed another cloud of dust rising from a valley in the park where another slide was taking place.
The town was all but deserted. Windows were boarded up and stores were closed. I saw one group of college girls waiting for a ride--any ride they could get--that would take them out. That's all anyone there, apparently, was thinking about.
I saw one kid with a suitcase headed down the street and I asked him to wait a minute so I could get a picture of him. "You go to hell," he told me, "I'm not waiting around here another minute for anything--not even a picture."
At the airfield there was a lot of activity--too much, it seemed to me. Planes were flying around every which way at all levels and they were coming and going so fast I couldn't keep track of them. They finally closed the strip because of the traffic and I guess it was a good thing. It seemed real hazardous to me.
Injured Arrive
They were pretty busy with the injured at the field. I saw one elderly woman, unconscious and half naked with her arm all bruised and bloody. She looked like she'd been in the water.
In fact, they were so concerned with earthquake victims there that someone in a station wagon backed up too quickly and hit a man standing behind it and knocked him down. No one hardly paid any attention.
Flying over Hebgen Lake and the dam we could see three big slides that blocked the road in as many places. There were campers stranded in each of the areas between the slides and, on our way back, we saw one of those "flying banana" helicopters land to pick some of the people up.
Mountains Cracked
Unless a person had been there at the time there's just no way of imagining what those people went through. The mountains literally cracked. Flying along by the lake we could see these huge, jagged fissures in the sides of mountains which ran along for a mile or more.
Someone asked me if I could compare what I saw up there with the earthquake we felt here Monday night. There's no comparison at all. I wasn't a bit scared here last night--but I'd have been plenty scared if I'd been there.
In fact, it scared me a little just looking at it after it all happened.
I don't thing they'll know for two or three days yet how many people are killed. They can't, because some of those places are so isolated.
This is the first earthquake I've ever seen and I think it'll last me a long time.
[Billings Gazette; August 19, 1959]


By Roger Davis
A Billings father at about noon Tuesday found something to be joyful about as he scanned the earthquake destruction in the Madison River Canyon from a light plane.
Anxiety and worry over the safety of his 19-year old son, Dean, and his two companions, Loyal Hahn of 1917 10th Ave. N. and Dave Coy, 17, of 245 Ave. E, prompted Oscar H. Dale of 1015 N. 32nd St. to charter a plane and head for the area Tuesday morning.
The young men had gone on a fishing and camping trip and Dale thought they were camping in the vicinity of Cliff Lake where considerable quake damage had been reported.
Circling low over the plateau area between Wade and Cliff Lakes, Dale spotted the three from the air.
"I was never so happy in all my life when I recognized them," he said.
The light plane landed on the plateau area "bouncing in and out of gopher holes and over boulders until everybody thought the undercarriage would be torn off."
It was a happy reunion. The three boys had been camping at Wade Lake. They had climbed to the plateau area only a short while before Dale's plane arrived.
"It was as if they knew we'd be looking for them," Dale said.
Although the quakes caused plenty of turmoil and destruction at the Wade Lake camping area, nobody had been injured, Wade said.
Cabin in Ruins
The interior of a summer cabin at the camp was in ruins. The tremors had upset furniture and dishes and glass were scattered all over. A sidewalk around the structure was completely crumbled.
Sections of the road slid off into the lake but fortunately missed the campers, Dale said. He also reported large fissures in the earth along Wade Lake and springs had dried up as a result of the tremors.
The three boys, who remained in the stricken area with the hope of eventually getting their car out, told Dale that they almost tore the tent down getting out of it when the quake hit Monday night. Fear gripped them when they got outside and heard slides and watched their car "jump up and down."
Something Terrible to See
Dale described the disaster scene as "something terrible to see."
"People who were camped in the narrows where the mountain slid into the canyon will probably never be found. They are under a rock pile at least 200 feet high and three-quarters of a mile long," he said.
He reported seeing cars and trailers marooned along the roads cut off by slides. Lakes are filled with debris.
Dale also said that the quake had not stopped the activities of the looters of the forest. Bears were reported having a field day stealing food from camps that had been hastily abandoned.
[Billings Gazette; August 19, 1959]



BIG TIMBER--Dr. V. D. Standish, Big Timber physician who flew over the area blocked out by a landslide, said "a huge pile of rubble east of Cliff Lake seems to have covered nearly a half mile of road to a depth of 200 feet."
Dr. Standish said the area between the dam and the slide "seems to be filling with water." He reported, however, that cars of campers in the area had been moved toward higher ground and were "all clustered together."
"Above the dam," said Dr. Standish, "where the highway skirts the lake there are whole sections of it that just dropped right into the water."
Standish said he counted eight or ten small aircraft that were apparently able to land in the affected area and were "shuttling back and forth in rescue operations."
[Billings Gazette; August 19, 1959]


WEST YELLOWSTONE (UPI)--Lloyd Verlanic, Anaconda, was the first to reach Mrs. Purley Bennett, Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, whose husband and three children were buried in a slide caused by an earthquake. A fourth child survived.
Verlanic found Mrs. Bennett and her son, Phil, 16, in the middle of a dry creek bed.
"Mrs. Bennett was nude," Verlanic said. "She was crawling on her hand and knees. She looked up at me, her face a mass of blood and said, "Oh, thank God! I've been crawling and praying all night. My children, oh my God, my children. I wish I could find my children."
Verlanic said that when the mountain crashed down into the canyon, water from the Madison River sent air swooshing up on both banks with such force it tore the clothes off campers.
Mr. and Mrs. S. B. Gilstad, of Helena, were parked about a half mile downstream from the landslide and were among the first to reach the injured.
Worse Than War Noises
"The roar sounded like the end of the world," Gilstad said. "We were sleeping in the car. It felt as if 10 men were jumping on your bumper."
Air Force Warrant Officer Victor James, 55, El Centro, Calif., was parked in his trailer about 75 yards from where the main slide hit.
"I heard a terrible rumble and looked up," he said. "I saw the whole damn mountain crumbling. It was awful. I saw a lot of fighting during World War II but I never heard such a hell of a roar."
UPI correspondent Robert Crennen narrowly missed injury in one of the aftershocks at 8:26 a.m. It happened near where he and Highway Patrolman Robert Spear, rancher Don Cox, and Sheriff Lloyd Thomas of Beaverhead County were standing.
They had just driven to the downstream side of the rockslide. At that point rocks were still trickling down the mountainside and two cars could be seen "twisted like a wrung washrag," Crennen said.
I was just taking a picture when Spear shouted, 'Good God, look at that!" There were five or six huge boulders coming down from the top of the mountain.
Ledge Breaks Off
"We were back about 50 feet from the slide and the car was pointed toward the slide. We all jumped in. Spear got the car turned around just as the rocks came crashing down behind us.
"Seconds later a big ledge broke off the cliff and came tumbling down. One rock made a 10-foot dent in the asphalt highway."
In West Yellowstone, western gateway to Yellowstone, Laura Schauer, Los Angeles, was coming out of the Wagon Wheel Cafe when the first quake struck.
"I felt like I was on waves," she said. "I had no control. The lights swung. Glass was flying everywhere. I picked myself up off the ground several feet from the steps.
She suffered a lacerated left leg.
Becky Alexander, Everett, Wash., was driving out of the park with her children, Leslie and Larry, along with Glen and Thelma Alexander.
"We thought it was a flat tire and stopped," Becky said. "The boulders came rushing down both in front and back of the car. One felled two trees in front of the car."
[Billings Gazette; August 19, 1959]

County Red Cross Placed On Alert

Billings Salvation Army personnel and supplies were on their way to the Ennis earthquake disaster area Tuesday afternoon to assist with emergency work.
Maj. Ernest Orchard, Citadel commanding officer, said he had received an emergency call from the Army's Butte headquarters for foodstuffs, blankets and mattresses to be used to care for people who were being evacuated from the Ennis area.
The Citadel's truck and canteen station wagon were loaded with the needed supplies Tuesday morning.
Maj. Orchard and Lt. Nels Nelson and two other Citadel personnel were ordered directly to the Madison River emergency area to assist personnel from Butte who were already on the job.
[Billings Gazette; August 19, 1959]


DENVER (AP)--Gov. Steve McNichols of Colorado offered help to governors of Montana, Wyoming and Idaho where the earthquake hit.
McNichols said in a telegram:
"Please let us know if we can help in any way to meet the problems and emergencies caused by the earthquakes in the West Yellowstone area reported Tuesday morning."
The telegram was sent to Govs. J. Hugo Aronson of Montana, Joe Hickey of Wyoming and Robert Smylie of Idaho.
[Billings Gazette; August 19, 1959]



DENVER (AP)--The seismograph at Regis College here was knocked out of action temporarily by the severity of earthquakes in Montana.
The Rev. Joseph Downey, S.J., said "I almost thought there was something the matter with my machine.
"The needle of light went back and forth across the page violently indicating the quake was close."
He said the shocks Monday night and Tuesday marked the first time on record that the beam of light went off the paper with "the first push."
"They were by far the largest I've recorded here," he said.
[Billings Gazette; August 19, 1959]


` Monday night's earthquake was as much a coincidence as a shock to members of the city building inspector's staff.
They recalled Tuesday they had spent part of Monday afternoon checking earthquake probabilities for the Bozeman area.
"We don't often get requests like that," explained Mrs. Florence Scott, department secretary, "but an architect wanted the information in connection with a building at the state college.
"Earthquakes were on the tip of our tongue when we stopped work Monday afternoon, but we never dreamed there would really be one only a few hours later."
[Billings Gazette; August 19, 1959]


A Yellowstone county deputy clerk and recorder had good reason Tuesday to think earthquakes may be following him around the world.
Monday night's tremors were the third in the past three years experienced by Allen Martin.
The clerk said he usually tours a different Latin American country during his vacation in August each year.
Two years ago, a quake hit near Mexico City while he was visiting there.
Last year he witnessed a similar tremor in Guatemala.
"I figured this year I'd say in Billings," he shrugged.
[Billings Gazette; August 19, 1959]



The earthquakes that brought a mountain down into the Madison River Canyon put water level recording instruments out of order at a 100-foot water well near Belgrade, the U.S. Geological Survey said Tuesday.
The well, often referred to as "old reliable" when it comes to recording earthquakes by fluctuations of the water level, has been used for this side purpose by the USGS since 1950.
The tremors Monday night caused the water level to rise so rapidly that the recorder quit after a rise of 1.2 feet.
The well has recorded quakes that have occurred in Alaska, Mexico and California. Dr. Charles Bradley, dean of science at Montana State College, reads the recording data for the USGS Billings office.
[Billings Gazette; August 19, 1959]


Billings amateur radio operators had a ringside seat--so far as transmitting conditions permitted--at organization efforts and progress of rescue operations following the earthquake in the Hebgen Dam area.
E. Carl Lanzendorfer, operator of station W7MQI, said he had been assigned to the emergency network to stand by in order to relay messages from mobile units sent to the stricken area.
His first official notice, Lanzendorfer said, was received from Bill Hammond of Fishtail, operating W7OTJ. Hammond advised that an emergency situation existed "on the Madison River" and told operators that ambulances had been called from Bozeman and that a helicopter had been requested from Salt Lake City.
Later, Hammond passed word to the network that "six helicopters aren't enough. There are 250 injured to be evacuated."
Activities of the emergency network, Lanzendorfer said, are being coordinated by John Bielenberg of Helena, who owns station W7BIS.
Also assigned to the network from this area is Florence Majerus, who operates station W7QYA in Lewistown.
Lanzendorfer reported his station had relayed a request from Carter Oil Co. officials in Billings relative to the safety of employees and their families in the affected area. The oil firm also inquired about oil storage tanks in the vicinity, Lanzendorfer said.
First transmission from the near scene, the Billings pharmacist reported, "sounded pretty discouraging."
The operator of station W7JPD in Dillon flew to West Yellowstone where he established an emergency station before noon Tuesday. He advised the network "conditions are worse than we expected."
Reports from the scene indicated "trees were broken like matchsticks and they're still fishing people out of the water."
According to reports, Lanzendorfer said most of the casualties were apparently caused by a rise of water "almost like a tidal wave" which swept across campgrounds.
Lanzendorfer said the first death message from the area was addressed to Casper, Wyo.
[Billings Gazette; August 19, 1959]


Bureau Checks All Reservoirs

No damage was reported to Bureau of Reclamation dams in Region 6 as result of the earthquake that brought death and destruction to the West Yellowstone and Madison River area, the Region 6 office reported Tuesday.
Checks on installations north of the stricken area such as Canyon Ferry, Crow Creek and Helena Valley showed no damage, Frank M. Clinton, regional director, said.
Clinton said apparently nothing out of the ordinary was discovered at Hungry Horse Dam in northwestern Montana. Although that dam is under the jurisdiction of the Boise regional office, any damage would have been reported to the Billings office.
Clinton said the Island Park Dam, an earthfilled structure located on Henry's Fork 50 miles south of West Yellowstone, also apparently escaped damage. Tests were made Tuesday morning on the outlet works and other parts of the dam and no damage could be found, according to reports received here, Clinton said.
[Billings Gazette; August 19, 1959]

Seeks Information To Aid Studies

Earthquakes can bring about many changes in the earth's structure and the U.S. Geological Survey's Billings office wants to find out about them.
The USGS requested Tuesday that residents in the area report factual information to them as soon as possible.
They are interested in everything from emotions and sensations of individuals to water levels in wells and springs.
Frank Swenson of the USGS said Tuesday that his office would appreciate receiving reports of any unusual observations in areas hit by the quake.
"By piecing together factual information much can be learned about the structural make-up of our rocking and rolling mother earth," Swenson said.
Information is sought on building damage, emotions and sensations, effects on mines, rock and earth slides, cracks in the ground, changes in spring and well water levels, and pipeline breaks.
Quakes often renew flows in dry oil and water wells. Dry holes, which never have produced, sometimes become productive after a quake. Sand spouts also occur. Observations on such phenomena will assist the USGS in its work, Swenson said.
He requested information to be sent to the USGS at Box 1818 in Billings. The USGS is cooperating with the Montana Bureau of Mines and Geology at Butte on these studies.
[Billings Gazette; August 19, 1959]


Local Residents In Quake Area

Another brief and mild earth tremor was recorded in Billings at 12:45 p.m. Wednesday by the Weather Bureau at the Airport, as an aftermath of severe shocks Monday night which centered their destruction in the Madison River Valley west of Yellowstone Park.
Other slight tremors were reported at 9:05 p.m. Tuesday by several local residents.
One injury victim from the quake area was brought to the Billings Deaconess Hospital early Wednesday morning. He is Frank Baker, 34, of Livingston. Baker, who had been engaged in rescue operations, was believed to have suffered back injuries in a slide Tuesday. It was reported he had transported some of the injured out of the area on horses.
Both Billings hospitals were prepared to take care of injury cases, but it was pointed out that hospitals in Butte, Helena and Livingston were a shorter distance from the scene of devastation.
The American Red Cross county chapter's message center was busy Wednesday handling calls. Messages seeking the whereabouts of relatives had been received here from as far east as Pennsylvania.
Reported in Area
Among Billings people reported to be in the Hebgen Lake area and whose whereabouts were sought through the message center were Mr. and Mrs. Jack McCord, 1013 Foster Lane; Mr. and Mrs. C. J. McGinnis and children, Allan and Seamas, 822 N. 29th St.; Mr. and Mrs. Carl Davis and children, 138 Birchwood Dr.; Mr. and Mrs. George Horning, 105 Brickyard Lane and their grandson, Philip Deitz, 13, Laurel, and Mr. and Mrs. Bernie Boynton, 2532 Longfellow Pl.
Couple Said Safe
Mr. and Mrs. Henry Meyers, of 306 9th St. W., were reported safe and were expected to return to Billings soon. John R. Davis, 2228 Hewitt Dr., who also was believed to be in the Madison area, called relatives late Tuesday night from Salt Lake City.
Another grim note in the disaster was an order from Bozeman for gas gangrene antitoxin which was filled early Wednesday morning by McKesson & Robbins wholesale drug outlet in Billings. This medication is used for severe wounds and cases of amputation.
[Billings Gazette; August 20, 1959]



BOZEMAN (UPI)--Evacuees from the Madison Valley disaster continued to trickle slowly into Bozeman Wednesday--weary, still frightened but thankful to be alive.
Main headquarters for the American Red Cross have been established here to handle the thousands of requests for information concerning the safety of persons possibly in the earthquake area Monday night.
Joseph Hladecek of San Francisco, field director for the Pacific area of the Red Cross, said he expects the headquarters to be in operation at least another three days.
Office Swamped
"We're really swamped here," he said. "It will take at least 24 hours before we can get out from under the backlog of work."
The backlog of requests for information about persons believed in the quake area was at least 500 Wednesday with new queries pouring in constantly.
The Red Cross has found temporary homes for at least 90 persons in Bozeman. Many of them were housed at Montana State College dormitories.
"We expect many more," Hladecek said.
He said the Red Cross planned to furnish transportation for those persons who have been evacuated and have lost their cars.
A staff of seven Red Cross workers and two teletype operators was handling the hundreds of telegrams. Meanwhile, telephone company operators were under instruction to accept only emergency calls.
[Billings Gazette; August 20, 1959]


HELENA (UPI)--State Civil Defense Director Hugh Potter closed the Madison Valley earthquake area Wednesday to private aircraft.
"It's purely a safety problem," Potter said, explaining that heavy traffic and low clouds had caused aerial congestion in the narrow valley.
He said official aircraft crews made an aerial survey of the valley Wednesday, looking for possible additional survivors and dead.
[Billings Gazette; August 20, 1959]


CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP)--The Wyoming Health Department has two 200-bed mobile hospitals ready to move to the Yellowstone National Park area if needed for victims of the severe earthquake which jolted the area Monday night and Tuesday.
Dr. Cecil Reinstein, director of preventive medicine, said the fully equipped hospital units are at Riverton and Worland, both within 200 miles of the disaster area.
An additional mobile hospital is located at Rawlins and could be moved to the Yellowstone area if needed, Reinstein said.
Another 100 hospital beds could be made available in Powell, Cody, Lovell, Basin, Worland and other Big Horn Basin communities for evacuation of injured persons from southwest Montana, Reinstein said.
He said the State Health Dept. was ready to send equipment or take patients into Wyoming if requested by Montana officials.
The Wyoming Air National Guard flew 30 units of blood to a Bozeman, Mont., hospital late Tuesday.
[Billings Gazette; August 20, 1959]

Creaks, Shakes, Jolts

By Neil Mellblom
(Neil Mellblom, former Gazette reporter and correspondent for Time and Life, visited the Yellowstone Park earthquake area and wrote this story for The Gazette).

I'm sitting up in bed writing this. I'm fairly comfortable, well supported by three large pillows and a soft mattress--but I'm ready to quickly toss this portable typewriter off my lap and bolt for the door of my motel room.
The walls just creaked, there was a faint but deep rumbling noise outside and the bed shook enough to startle me. I just told myself it won't take many more such jolts to convince me I should be wearing pants and shoes.
I'm in West Yellowstone, Montana. It's 1 a.m. Wednesday and I've been awake nearly 20 hours. The ache in my legs tells me I'm tired, but I know I won't sleep tonight.
I doubt if many people in this area will relax in their beds tonight. They've been having the shakes all day, real ones, and even if the ground stops quivering, their nerves will maintain the St. Vitus reaction.
Conversation all over the West Yellowstone area have sounded like this Tuesday:
(Leonard Kelly, operator of the Hitchin' Post Motel, telling about the first jolts that rocked the area Monday night.)
"At first I thought a truck or car had hit the building. They have before. Then the bed started whipping and the walls began to groan. The whole room was swaying . . . ."
He pauses, cocks his head slightly and asks:
"Feel that? There's another one."
Tremor Is Felt
You did feel something. It was hardly noticeable, a tiny shudder immediately underfoot--but it was there, all right. Your eyes are drawn to the circular rack of postcards on the motel office counter; they are shimmering, ever so slightly, and you know nobody touched them.
"Anyway," Kelly, the motel owner continues, "the whole room was swaying and I realized we were having an earthquake."
He goes on to describe the terrible few hours--terrible also in a dollar and cents way for a motel owner--following the first shock waves.
He describes dishes cascading out of cupboards, furniture sliding and hopping, being banged into both sides of the doorway as he tried to get outside.
Load Cars, Leave
The thousands of tourists and campers in and around West Yellowstone realized just as quickly as Kelly that they were in an earthquake. Before daybreak a large majority of them had dressed, loaded their cars and joined the caravan leading southwest to Idaho Falls.
"They didn't check out, they just left. Many had paid for a night or two in advance, but nobody asked for refunds," Mrs. Kelly commented.
West Yellowstone and the immediate tourist area will accommodate some 8,000 guests. Early Monday evening, the Hitchin' Post and most other motels had their "no vacancy" signs lit. By Tuesday evening rooms were available all over town and a long count would show hardly more than a thousand people still around--most of them natives.
Instead of the gay, peak-of-the-season atmosphere normally in West Yellowstone this time of year, there is a quiet, nervous feeling. Shock has set in, and probably won't wear off for days. The people are listening for the next rumble and waiting for the next tremble. It will take a long period of steadiness to revive their spirit.
Say Year Over
The townspeople are convinced their year is over. The quake temblors that forced condemnation of the historic old Union Pacific depot and cancellation of daily train arrivals, that tumbled chimneys and some walls, that put gaping cracks in the brick walls of the famed Stagecoach Inn also has broken the stream of tourist traffic.
For the time being the neon signs will remain off and the atmosphere of a winter-shut-down will prevail.
"The end of the season came early," Kelly agreed, "but at least Old Faithful is still spouting. If it quits, we're really dead."
A trip into the immediate quake area--the place where bodies were picked up by a heaving earth and tossed into the water, where who knows how many others were smashed and smothered--is an awesome thing.
It makes you realize immediately that there really is a force that can move mountains.
Crews Open Roads
Roads are opening in the West Yellowstone vicinity now--thanks to efficient Montana Highway Department crews--but as late as Wednesday morning it was impossible for anything but trucks and powerful four-wheel-drive vehicles to navigate the few miles from the town to the lake shore.
Three miles north of the tourist town the road suddenly resembled a piece of shredded wheat. Asphalt was spread as far as a foot in many places and the driving surface dipped east to west and north to south, then back again.
A few miles further, just before the junction where the lake road cuts off, the northbound driver--if he couldn't stop--would smash headon into a dirt and gravel wall. The highway was broken in a clean line, the level dropping abruptly at least eight feet.
Cadillac Is Smashed
(At this point a new Cadillac, roof and sides smashed, sat in the borrow pit. Its southbound driver had unwittingly tried to make the jump over the drop off.)
Once the northeast turn is made into the lakeshore drive area, the road for a short distance is as good as ever, but a glance to either side tells you things are not right.
On the left the water does not have an ordinary shoreline, the level in places is halfway to the top of bushes and small trees. This is the open area before you reach the dam and forested sections.
Jagged Gash Seen
On the right, high up on the mountain ridge a few hundred yards is a strange line. At first it resembles a roughly-made irrigation ditch. Then, on closer inspection you realize it is not a ditch but a jagged gash through the sod and trees, a gash left when acres and acres of lake bottom and shore--shore extending upward several hundred feet--suddenly dropped from ten to 15 feet.
Imagine you are holding Hebgen Lake in your hands. Grab it by the south side and give a sudden upward jerk. Watch the water mushroom and slosh up the opposite shore and over the earth-filled dam at the end. Then leave it in the tilted position.
The massive ground shifting and force of small tidal waves broke the shoreline highway at several points. For several stretches of hundreds of feet the road simply disappears, murky water filling the gaps.
Bulldozers at Work
The drive is possible, however, because of the quick and effective work of bulldozers. The N-K Construction Co. of Butte moved into the lake area early Tuesday and by that night had created rough but durable defiles up and around the washouts.
Opening of the road made it possible Tuesday night for a caravan of over 50 cars loaded with survivors of the quake to drive to the main highway and travel to Bozeman. The injured were removed by helicopter earlier in the day and most of the dead bodies were found many miles north of the lake and dam--downstream on the Madison River.
The shoreline of the lake is littered with whole trees, uprooted and floating, abandoned boats, tiny and large chunks of wood that were once buildings. At one of the points where the road drops away, the water-filled gap also holds an entire house. Only its roof and tops of windows show above the water line.
Dam Battered, Cracked
Hebgen Dam itself is battered and cracked, but the cracks themselves are not large and first observations lead you to believe the earth-filled structure will not break. Most damage is to the concrete-lined spillway, where 20-foot sections have crumpled and displaced.
Stretching Northwest ... weaving line from the ... the canyon leading ... mountainslide. The seven mile drive is studded with boulders that hurtled off mountainsides.
Then you reach the slide itself. Your first imp... are of a giant sidehill gr... Or you imagine a gargan... ing straddling the canyon ...lessly kicking it nearly ...of earth, boulders and t...
Cannot Be Restored
This place in the canyon cannot be restored to its ... status. Half of a 9,... mountain ridge fell away, ... ly blocking the flow... Madison. The bulk of ear... rocks is 200-feet high, ... across the canyon--three ...of a mile--and over a ha... along the line of the ri...
By Wednesday only a ... of water had worked ...through the fall, the M... River water spilling out ... dam was quickly backing ... the canyon. A mile bac... the quake-slide the water was several feet high on ...
Nobody who has seen t... has suggested any effort b... to clear away the fallen ...tain. It is generally agreed ...nothing will stop the for... of a new lake.
On the north side of th... the Madison River winds ... level farm and ranch land ...these days it winds slow... most places the majestic ... stream is creek-size, ... with potholes. Most of its ... on the 50-mile stretch no... Ennis is supplied by ...tributaries.
[Billings Gazette; August 20, 1959]


ENNIS (AP)--"I thought I was the only one in the family still alive."
Actually, Mrs. Irene Bennett, 39, and her son, Phillip, 16, of Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, were the only two survivors of an earthquake landslide in the family of six.
Her story was related Wednesday from the Ennis hospital by her brother-in-law, James Burkhart of Hamilton. He quoted her as saying:
Thrown Clear
"I was thrown clear across the river and I was in the water a long while. When I came to, I was jammed against a tree with a log on my back. I dug myself out of that.
"I thought I was the only one in the family still alive.
"I couldn't walk. When daylight came I saw Phillip and called to him. He raised up over the dirt pile and saw me. He crawled over to where I was to help me."
Phillip, whose leg was broken when he was thrown across the river, managed to swim and crawl back. He has had much scouting training and put this to good use. In the darkness he dug a hole and covered himself with dirt for warmth and survived the night.
Just as Phillip and his mother got together in the daylight they were spotted by other vacationing campers and brought ashore.
Killed were her husband, Purley, 43, a truck driver and their children, Carole, 17, Tom, 11, and Susan, 6.
Their car and all belongings were washed from shore by a tidal wave created by the quake and landslide.
[Billings Gazette; August 20, 1959]

Family Returns From Hebgen Area

A 'horrible' experience but one common to many campers and vacationers along the shores of Hebgen Lake during Monday night's earthquake was recounted Wednesday by Mrs. Ray Eckery of Laurel, who with her husband and her mother, Mrs. Katie Wruck of New Leipzig, N.D., were at Lakeshore Cabins about seven miles from Hebgen Dam when the temblor struck.
The first severe shock, Mrs. Eckery said, knocked many of the cabins off their foundations, knocked down persons who had been standing, upset stoves and refrigerators and scattered dishes and supplies in the cabins.
Fissures in the earth opened from 3 to 4 feet in width and about 10 feet deep, she said, but no one at that location was injured.
The cabins were evacuated and occupants moved to higher ground, where the women and children remained in cars during the night. Men worked to save boats and some buildings which had floated out into the lake.
The lake itself was filled with debris, including tents and buildings, Mrs. Eckery said.
There was no panic, and everyone worked together to salvage belongings, she added.
On Tuesday, bulldozers succeeded in opening the highway to a point where it connected with Highway 191 in the Gallatin Valley, filling fissures sufficiently so that traffic could proceed. The Eckerys returned to Laurel Tuesday afternoon.
[Billings Gazette; August 20, 1959]


YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK, Wyo. (AP)--Efforts to clear mountainous road slides in Yellowstone National Park were delayed Wednesday after a road crew narrowly escaped being trapped by another slide.
Park rangers said no further efforts will be made to bulldoze the slides caused by a series of earthquakes Monday night and Tuesday until the threat of further tremors subsides.
Work was started Wednesday to clear a giant slide near the park headquarters at Mammoth Hot Springs. The bulldozing and a slight tremor loosened a pile of rocks which cascaded onto the road, scattering workmen.
Geysers Okay
Park service officials said there had been no change in the geyser activity in the world famous park. Old Faithful is still spouting regularly every 63 minutes and no changes have been reported in other geyser activity.
Giantess Geyser, which erupts every six months, spouted shortly after the earthquake, but park rangers said the geyser had been several days past due. They said the earthquake may or may not have been responsible for the geyser's activity Tuesday.
Remains in Tent
Park Supt. Lemuel A. Garrison still had his office in a tent on the Mammoth Hot Springs lawn Wednesday, but park rangers said it may be moved back to the main administration building later in the day. The administration building had been evacuated Tuesday.
Roads are still closed in the entire western half of the park and the West Yellowstone gate is closed. Park rangers said tourist traffic is moving normally in the eastern part of the park.
Park rangers said only a few minor tremors were felt in the park Wednesday and that no further damage had been reported.
Two houses, occupied by rangers at Mammoth, had chimneys knocked down by the earthquakes. One chimney fell into the inside of the house, but no one was injured.
[Billings Gazette; August 20, 1959]



The second disastrous earthquake in the recent history of Montana shook most of the southwest and south-central sections of Montana just before midnight Monday with minor tremors continuing at intervals during the following thirty-six hours. So far as has been determined by scientists with their seismographs, the epicenter of the quake, which sent waves of diminishing intensity out into five or six Northwestern states, was along a stretch of the Madison river, south of the town of Ennis and near the location of the Hebgen dam, built more than forty years ago by the Montana Power Company.
The force of the quake brought down an entire mountainside into the Madison River canyon and swept everything before it in an area which has long been known as a favorite recreation region for vacation campers and fishermen. More than two hundred people were camped in the area when the quake hit and sent millions of tons of rock and debris hurtling down upon some of the campers. Twenty people are known to have lost their lives and it is feared that the death toll will be greatly increased when investigations now in progress are completed. Some two hundred of the survivors, a number of them critically injured, were caught in the area between the rock slide and the dam.
Planes and helicopters were rushed to the scene of the disaster and had succeeded in rescuing all of the trapped campers, a number of them critically injured, by late Tuesday evening. The injured were rushed by plane and cars to Bozeman hospitals but two failed to survive the shock and their injuries. Others remain in a critical condition.
The little tourist town of West Yellowstone was the most seriously damaged of the several settlements in and around the northwest corner of Yellowstone Park although a portion of Old Faithful Inn, one of the oldest hotels in the park, also collapsed and made that famous inn uninhabitable.
It was obvious that the Hebgen dam was cracked and fears were felt that it might give way and send a huge volume of water, some three hundred thousand acre feet comprising the lake created by the structure, rushing down through Madison valley to its junction with the Missouri at Three Forks. Ennis, the first community of considerable size in the valley, was ordered evacuated. Many of the inhabitants of Ennis hurriedly left for high ground and all who remained were prepared for a hasty evacuation on a moment's notice.
A warning was also sent to individual residents down the valley and also the towns of Three Forks and Townsend, the latter on the Missouri which was expected to overflow if the great body of water from Hebgen Lake poured into it. The impounded water above the Canyon Ferry and Hauser dams were lowered to help take care of the overflow from up above in case Hebgen should fail to hold.
While the loss of life and injuries to others are, of course, the most tragic results of the disaster, there will also be enormous property damage. If the dam holds, it will have to be repaired at heavy cost. Buildings in West Yellowstone will need to be repaired and new highway mileage of considerable length will have to be constructed to take the place of that section now covered to a depth of several hundred feet by the collapse of a side of the high mountain. Two entrances to the Park will probably be closed for much of the remaining weeks of the season.
While occasional tremors have been felt in Montana, the state's first major quake hit Helena in October, 1935 and the property damage was figured at four million dollars. Fortunately, only one life was lost although many people were injured, most of them but slightly.
A similar disaster, probably caused by an earthquake, wiped out the coal mining town of Frank, Alberta, Canada on April 29, 1903, when an estimated ninety million tons of rock crashed down and simply buried the town killing between 60 and 70 people, most of them miners, employed by owner of the property, H. L. Franks, Butte, Montana capitalist.
While Montana has been the scene of other natural disasters from different causes since it became a settled region, that which spread death, terror and great material damage up toward the headwaters of the Madison River ranks as one of the worst of its kind in the history of our state.
[Billings Gazette; August 20, 1959]


Menu Is Featuring 'Quake Special'

YELLOWSTONE PARK, Wyo.--Park employees were back on a business-as-usual basis Thursday, even though minor tremors still shook this quake-torn area as late as Thursday morning.
Don Anderson, a Gazette reporter who covered the area through the help of park officials, reported a menu at a Canyon Village restaurant typified the general reaction toward the tragedy. On the noon meal was a "Quake Special," featuring tossed salad and hamburger steak.
According to Anderson, the influx of tourists into Yellowstone was holding up well with more than 16,000 entries reported both Tuesday and Wednesday. This was a slight drop from the seasonal record of previous years but considered very good attendance. However, a receptionist at Canyon Village told Anderson that area was beginning to feel the lack of traffic.
Stranded Straggle Back
Pointing up the return to normal at the park was the straggling back of numerous park employees stranded in various parts of the park, coupled with the go-ahead of the Montana Press Association meeting Friday and Saturday on schedule.
Park Supt. Lemuel Garrison told Anderson no road clearing or repairs were planned until the shocks ceased. This was expected to be in about two weeks. A small crew was sent in to clear near Golden Gate Monday night, but a second slide cascaded down, endangering the men. Garrison said the halt in road clearance and repairs was made to protect crews from further possible danger.
Seismologists Flown In
Park officials were clamping a tight ban on travel in the danger areas. Four men were fined from $10 to $25 each Thursday for driving past roadblocks into the threatened areas.
Two seismologists from San Francisco were flown into the park area Thursday with a portable seismograph to study the quake situation. Anderson said a big rock fall was located in Fire Hole River canyon, between Old Faithful and Madison Junction. Engineers were worried about cribbing near Gibbons Falls on Norris Junction Road, between Canyon and Norris.
Visitors Continue Tours
Portable radios were brought into play to keep in constant touch with all parts of the park. Superintendent Garrison insisted that other facilities in the park unaffected by the quake were coming in for normal use by tourists, and Anderson reported this was true as far as he could see, with the usual large number of visitors gathered around the geysers and the perennial park favorites, bears.
Garrison had set up an administration tent on the lawn of the park office, moving out of the administration building after examination revealed some cracking in the old stone building and some danger of falling chimneys.
The severity of the quake was emphasized by George Ash, the oldest white man born in the park and a survivor of the San Francisco disaster of the early 1900's. Ash described this week's catastrophic shake-up as worse than the one that levelled blocks of the San Francisco business district.
[Billings Gazette; August 21, 1959]


Some Addresses Said Unavailable

BOZEMAN (AP)--Here is a partial list of evacuees who left the southwest Montana earthquake zone by way of Dug Creek, Wyo., and Bozeman, Mont., obtained through the Red Cross, Montana Highway Patrol and the U.S. Forest Service:
(Addresses unavailable where not listed)
Caraway, West and wife, from Hebgen Dam.
McFarland, Gerald; wife and daughter, Salem, Ore.
Yaklish, A. J., Woodenville, Wash.
Thompson, Mike, Udall, Kan.
Maxwell, V., Jr.
Thompson, June; man, woman, daughter, and aunt.
Martin, A. F.
Davis, Mrs. Ben.
Drake, Miss Goldie.
Davis, B. W.
Tarlton, Miss.
Sanders, Leland L., wife, daughter, Ina Jean,
Roy, Utah.
Thomas, Mrs. David, three children, Nye, Mont.
Rogers, Mrs. Charles, three children,
Roundup, Mont.
Wood, Mrs. Ethel, son Harry, Salt Lake City, Utah.
Curtis, L. H. and wife, Pasadena, Calif.
Balack, Clarence M., wife, one small girl, mother-
in-law, Middleton, Mrs. Erma, Tucson, Ariz.
Blaydon, Richard, wife, North Hollywood, Calif.
Tovias, Louis; wife Kay, daughter Karen,
Akron, Ohio.
Lorenze, Mrs. Fred, Akron, Ohio.
Genderson, Gilbert, Bellevue, Wash.
Willie, James B., Tacoma, Wash.
Badoviwax, John; wife, two children, Seattle, Wash.
Burley, Robert; wife.
Goodnough, Jack; wife, three children,
Albion, Wash.
Wils, Wilfor; wife, four children,
Brigham City, Utah.
Davis, John B.; Carolyn, Pocatello, Idaho.
Wizel, Fred; wife, four children, Aberdeen, Wash.
Hudson, Charotta, Twin Falls, Idaho.
Rost, Eleanor.
Kraeter, Eugene G.; wife, Jean, Concord, Mass.
Bernard, Hayward; wife, three sons,
Escondido, Calif.
Cooper, William E.
Webb, Glenn.
Engle, F. N., wife, Garden Grove, Calif.
Robert W. Dean, wife, two children, Nancy,
Cynthia, Salt Lake City, Utah.
Daea, John Sr., Great Falls, Mont.
Stranger, J. F. and Leo.
Triempower, E.
Buser, Jack; wife, Harrisburg, Penn.
Bateman, Rex; wife, Utah.
Hobeson, C. W.; wife, two boys, Estan and Gary.
Three Painter children, Ogden, Utah.
Own, O. B., Culver City, Calif.
Searcy, J. Spencer; wife, Don, Ralph, Lina,
Salt Lake City, Utah.
Potter, Robert; wife, son Barry, 122 Custer Ave.,
Billings, Mont.
Bacon, Rodney E.; wife Alice, Santa Ana, Calif.
Bowns, Mr. and Mrs. Terry Eugene, and Jo Ann,
Salt Lake City.
Plaga, Jean; Pat, Salt Lake City.
Staley, Dr. Elden D.; Barbara V., Richard E.,
Leland V., Jeanne, Claudia, Rock Springs, Wyo.
Weston, H. G. and Mrs. Weston, San Jose; two
nephews, Stephen and Billy Conley.
Olson, Mr. and Mrs. Bernie, Kent, Wash., four
children, John, Fred, Gloria and Joanne.
Vernon, Richard Lynn; Annebel, Coalville, Utah.
Blakley, Howard S.; Adline D., Cheryl L., Dale H.,
810 Connie Ave., Rock Springs, Wyo.
Nomura, Dr. Frank Shimpie; Francis, Connie, Kan.
Maeda, Frank S.; Dorothy, Los Angeles.
White, Warren Bruce; wife, Frederick, Ruth Ann,
Indianapolis, Ind.
Reppat, Leonard V.; wife, Topeka, Kan.
Davis, Charles; wife, Terry, Lake George, Colo.
Maxwell, Vern; wife, Steve, Kim,
State Center, Iowa.
Barton, Mrs. Tom, State Center, Iowa.
Burbank, August L.; wife, Susan, Richard, Eugene,
Louisa, Penelope, Melani, Brigham City, Utah.
Lavett, Tehdore Avery; wife, Salt Lake City.
Greene, Ray; wife, Steve, 2312 10th North,
Billings, Mont.
Kennedy, Larry, Dayton, Ohio.
Morse, Mrs., Salt Lake City, Utah.
Jensen, Mr., Salt Lake City, Utah.
Donny, Mr. and wife, Vandalia, Ohio.
Campbell, Clark O.; wife, Ross O., Cathy Jean,
Box 274, Lovell, Wyo.
Donaldson, Donald; wife, Canfield, Ohio.
Kreuger, Harold; wife, Polly, Bruce, Larry, Mary,
Montello, Wis.
McDonald, John; wife, St. Anthony, Idaho.
Holtsman, I. K.; wife, Carrollton, Ohio.
Walker, Norman; wife, Rickey, Christinie,
Pleasant Grove, Utah.
Kalmer, Lela, Lehi, Utah.
Rogerson, Charles, Roundup, Mont.
Thomas, David and Mrs., Nye, Mont., 3 children,
David Jr., Carol and Ann.
Mr. and Mrs. Chas. T. Rogers, Roundup, Mont.,
Charles, Sandra, Patty.
Grub, Calvin; wife, two children,
Gen. Del., Butte, Mont.
Meyers, Henry; wife, Zella, children, 306 9th St.
West, Billings, Mont.
Hoggan, Donald S.; wife, Salt Lake City, Utah.
Hamada, Minoru; wife, 2 children, Roy, Utah, also
2 other children, Dick Maeda, Los Angeles.
Danny Nomura, Roy, Utah.
Yemoto, Kiyoshi; wife, son, Fresno, Calif.
Sogihara, George; son.
Miller, Edward Raymond; wife, 2 children,
Denver, Colo.
Owen, Lawrence Terril; wife, Dorothy, son John,
Riverside, Calif.
Keith, Kenneth; wife, Harrisburg, Ill.
Vander Pluym, John; wife, 2 children, Decatur, Ill.
Donegan, Clifton and Gene, children,
Vandalia, Ohio.
Good, Frederick Arnold Jr; wife Doris, 4 sons,
Frederick, Robert, Alex, Jeff., La Canada, Calif.
Lenz, Clyde C., Ashton, Idaho.
Sexton, Bill, son Bobby, 231 E. Granite,
Butte, Mont.
Hungerford, George; wife, from Hebgen Dam and
West Yellowstone.
Sewain, C. H.; wife, Long Beach, Calif.
Hayward, Charles Jr., Ted, whole family all right.
Quisnell, Reed A.; wife, 3 children, Arcadia, Calif.
Keuning, A.; son, La Puenete, Calif.
Christensen, Roy, Rexburg, Idaho.
Guanne, Dennis E.; wife, 2 boys, Hunter, Utah.
People gone through the Ennis, Mont., Hospital:
Bennett, Mrs. P. R. and son, Phillip, 16,
Coeur d'Alene, Idaho.
Lost, Mrs. Ruth, New York City.
Lost, Geraldin, New York City.
Lost, Shirley, New York City.
Frederick, Paul, Elyria, Ohio.
Delhart, Carol, Colville, Wash.
Lost, Joan, New York City.
Delhart, Danny, Colville, Wash.
Lost, Larry, New York City.
Mooge, Elsie, Spokane, Wash.
Smith, Ann, Greeley, Colo.
Smith, Jo Ann, Greeley, Colo.
Whittmore, George, Elyria, Ohio.
(End partial evacuee list)
Eugene B. and Mary Bair, care R. H. Hackson,
route 2, Stone Mt., Ga.
Dave or Dale Covey, Billings.
Dean Dale, Billings.
Blue Evans (Forest Service reported him missing).
Edward T. and Elaine Egloff and children, Bruce,
Rick, Mike and Steve, Denver.
Melvin and Laura Frederick and children, Melva
and Paul J., Elyria, Ohio.
Thomas Goodman, Big Timber, Mont.
Johnnie Harr, Dillon, Mont.
Ray and Wilma Harrison and Bobbie, Linda and
Ray, no address.
Murlin Hartkoph and family, no address.
Laurel Haun, Billings.
Jerry Lavoi, Dillon.
Mrs. Elsie Moore, Spokane, Wash.
Rev. Elmer Ost and wife, Ruth (in Sheridan, Mont.,
hospital) and children, Joan, Geraldine, Shirley
and Larry, New York City.
Palmer Podd, Butte.
Martha Schrann, Butte.
Dick Slentz, Spokane.
Lewis and Ann Smith and daughters, Joan and
Carol, 1714 22nd Ave., Greeley, Colo.
Three children of Mr. and Mrs. E. H. Stryker,
San Mateo, Calif.
Gerald and Clara Taylor, no address.
Tom Travers, Denver.
Jack and Roseva Voucher and daughter, Joan Ann,
Oakview, Calif.
[Billings Gazette; August 21, 1959]


A number of Billings residents were reported safe Thursday night after being in, or reported in, the Madison Canyon earthquake area.
Those reported safe included Mr. and Mrs. C. J. McGinnis and children, Allan and Seamas, 822 N. 29th St.; Mr. and Mrs. Jack McCord, 1013 Foster Lane; Mr. and Mrs. George Horning and son, Robert, and nephew, Phillip Deitz, 105 Brickyard Lane, and Mr. and Mrs. Carl Davis and children, 138 Birchwood Drive, who were in Helena at the time of the quake.
Most were located through the American Red Cross special emergency communications system which was still busy in Billings relaying inquiries about people to Bozeman where special teams are processing the names of evacuees.
The center reported that 150 more evacuees were brought into Bozeman Wednesday night. Fred Penwell, county ARC chapter chairman, went to the disaster scene Thursday to seek possible information on Billings residents whose whereabouts were still unknown to the center Thursday afternoon.
They are Mr. and Mrs. Bernie Boynton, 2532 Longfellow Pl.
Other city residents, injured in the quake, have been transferred to hospitals here. Mrs. Warren Steele, 615 S. 36th St., was admitted to St. Vincent Hospital Thursday night with a fractured spine, fractured left ankle, contusions and abrasions. Her condition was said to be fair.
Mrs. Steele was transferred here from a Bozeman hospital.
Her husband Warren Steele, Anthony Schreiber, 432 Broadwater Ave., and Bonnie Schreiber, were examined at St. Vincent but were not admitted.
[Billings Gazette; August 21, 1959]



More than 300 hot meals in the first 24 hours following the earthquake were served by the Billings Salvation Army unit near West Yellowstone following the disaster Monday night, according to Billings citadel officers.
Maj. Ernest Orchard, Billings corps commander, is directing workers from Montana, Wyoming and Idaho throughout the disaster area.
Six trucks, three canteen station wagons and an emergency shortwave radio mobile truck are being operated by the army in the stricken area.
Lt. Nels Nelson, Billings assistant corps officer, said the teams were expected to return to home cities late Thursday but will remain on call.
[Billings Gazette; August 21, 1959]


Miss Verona Holmes, 45, of 515 Broadwater Ave., daughter of a Billings woman who died of injuries suffered in Monday night's earthquake, was in good condition in St. Vincent Hospital with a fractured left leg sustained in the disaster, according to her physician.
Her mother, Mrs. Margaret Holmes, of the same address, died Tuesday in a Bozeman hospital. Another daughter, Mrs. Anton J. Schreiber, her husband and daughter, Bonnie, 7, of 432 Broadwater Ave., are hospitalized in Bozeman. The group was camping in the Hebgen Lake area.
[Billings Gazette; August 21, 1959]

Which Is Which?

The inner walls of the Yellowstone County courthouse have sprung some new cracks.
But county officials aren't sure how many they can attribute to the earthquake shocks felt in Billings this week.
Paul King, building custodian, pointed out about half a dozen of the more noticeable cracks to Commissioner A. A. Healow Thursday during an inspection of the eight-story structure.
King said damage appears to have been centered in the fifth and sixth floors, where numerous chinks--some up to eight feet long--have appeared in plastered walls and stairwells and above door facings and marble wainscoting.
Loosened squares of acoustical tile in the ceiling of the sixth-floor criminal courtroom testify to the swaying motion noted by janitors working in the courthouse late Monday night.
King said not all the cracks could be blamed on the earthquake, however. Many, he said, doubtless were caused by what he termed "normal settling" of the building, occupied 15 months ago.
Healow reported after the inspection that he found no serious damage. All of the cracks, he said, probably can be repaired by the building superintendent without much additional expense to the county.
The commissioner pointed out that insurance on the building does not cover earthquakes. He said he knows of only one insurance firm in all the world that writes earthquake insurance but added, "I don't know anybody around here that has such a policy."
[Billings Gazette; August 21, 1959]


Congressional Group Makes Air Survey Of Disaster Area

WEST YELLOWSTONE (UPI)--Gov. J. Hugo Aronson was promised federal aid for Montana's earthquake-rubbled areas from a congressional delegation that flew over the scene Saturday in a helicopter.
Governor Aronson pleaded for the aid in a meeting at which more than 100 persons representing agencies and organizations engaged in survey and relief work attended.
"We're hard-up here," Aronson said, "we need help right away." He asked the congressmen to do what they could.
He was assured by Sen. Frank Moss (D-Utah), representing the Senate Public Works and Interior committees, that "we will see that aid is coming and as rapidly as possible."
Following a helicopter flight over the scene, Moss and six representatives had a two-hour-long briefing in a West Yellowstone hotel where the tremors had shattered the plaster.
Montana Civil Defense Chief Hugh K. Potter appealed to the congressional delegation to "pass a law that will give one man authority in the case of a disaster." He didn't elaborate further.

UPI)--Seven helicopter-borne Congressmen hovered within 50 feet of the earthquake slide area in Madison canyon Saturday and declared afterwards they were amazed by the great force of the quake.
"It can only be compared with the power of the H-bomb," Rep. Leroy Anderson (D-Mont.) said. "The magnitude of the forces of nature involved" amazed him. He said he did not believe Montana ever experienced any disaster before which presented such "damage to be rectified."
Earlier the Congressmen flew over a wider area of quake damage in a party of 21 officials in two C-47 planes.
Will Study Aid Plans
"The thing that hits you most deeply when you fly over is the sorrow and compassion for those caught in the slides," Anderson said. He said he and the other Congressmen would fly back to Washington Sunday to study means of aiding the quake victims. He refused to speculate on what forms such aid might take.
Saturday the Congressmen and other federal officers met here to discuss the disaster and map recovery plans.
Other Solons Comment
Congresswoman Gracie Pfost (D-Idaho) was a member of the group. She said the picture from the air "reminded me of the cracks you see when pulling a cake of gingerbread from the oven after it is there too long."
Sen. Frank E. Moss (D-Utah) described the slide as "a great, huge thing." He said it appeared from the air that there was no possibility of moving it by blasting.
"Almost Unbelievable"
Rep. Tom Morris (D-N.M.) said it was a "wonder more people weren't killed." Congressman Harold Johnson (D-Calif.) said it was "almost unbelievable," and another Californian, Republican John Baldwin, said the thing that amazed him was that the "trees on top of the slide ended up like matchwood."
Meanwhile the Army Corps of Engineers set up a headquarters here. They will undertake an official study of the quake damage. Maj. Gen. Keith R. Barney said the Corps will survey the Madison River slide area under the general flood emergency authority of the Corp. A team of 14 engineers has been assigned here.

. (AP)--A congressional delegation came to this still-trembling section of southwest Montana Saturday to study first hand the damage caused by Monday night's earthquake, which left nine known dead and toppled a mountain top into a river canyon.
The congressmen were accompanied by a dozen federal officials.
Land at Bozeman
They landed at the Bozeman, Mont., airport at 1:18 p.m. after a flight from Washington and transferred to automobiles for the 80-mile trip to West Yellowstone. There two big helicopters waited to fly them over the damage stricken area.
Only a few hours before the congressional party arrived more tremors shook the West Yellowstone area, but Montana Gov. J. Hugo Aronson said they were light and caused no damage. Gov. Aronson met the congressmen as they arrived at the Bozeman airport.
Start Slide Survey
The Army Engineers announced start of a survey to determine what should be done with the mountain top which has dammed up the Madison River and possibly has buried some persons who were camping at Rock Creek campground. Search of the scene ended Friday because--as Montana Civil Defense Director Hugh Potter said--"There is nothing more to find."
Maj. Gen. Keith Barney of the Omaha division said a team from the Army Corps of Engineers from Riverdale, N.D., is making the survey. Heading the team is Lt. Col. Walter Hogrefe.
Sees Flood Danger
Questions to be determined include: What is the composition of the natural dam, estimated as varying from 150 to 300 feet in height? When will the water it is backing up reach the top? What is the best way to eliminate danger of further flood damage to the Madison Valley downstream?
Gen. Barney said a personal inspection of the area indicates a potential flood danger to an extent that "we felt immediate and prompt action must be taken."
One suggestion has been that man perfect the dam, sealing it up.
Two Montana Solons
The congressional party was made up of Sen. Frank Moss (D-Utah), Rep. John Baldwin (R-Calif.), Rep. Harold Johnson (D-Calif.), Rep. Lee Metcalf (D-Mont.), Rep. Leroy Anderson (D-Mont.), Rep. Tom Morris (D-New Mexico) and Rep. Gracie Pfost (D-Idaho).
Headquarters for the congressional party until it leaves Sunday will be West Yellowstone--at the fringe of Yellowstone National Park but isolated from it by rockslides which have blocked roads. Numerous after-shocks have been felt in the area.
Meanwhile, the Red Cross at Bozeman continued its efforts to answer inquiries from throughout the nation about persons who may have been in the area.
[Billings Gazette; August 23, 1959]

Special Serum Sent From Billings

BOZEMAN (UPI)--One, and possibly two, of the persons injured in Monday's earthquakes in Montana has contracted infection resembling gas gangrene, United Press International learned Sunday night.
Special serum for treatment of the infection was rushed from Billings to Bozeman to be administered to a man and his wife.
The attending physician confirmed that the man's wounds had developed "an organism like gas gangrene," similar to gangrenous infections contracted by men suffering battlefield wounds.
"We think his wife probably suffered a mild case," the doctor said.
The physician said these apparently were the only surviving victims of a tragic quake-caused landslide in the upper Madison canyon who suffered the gangrenous type infection. However, he said, two women who died in the Bozeman hospital "could have had it in addition to their other injuries."
The attending physician at Ennis, where two more slide victims are still hospitalized, said neither had developed such an infection.
The infection in the man at Bozeman appears to have been halted before it could spread, the Bozeman doctor said.
"He looks better every day," he added. The physician said the infection could have been fatal if it had been permitted to spread.
Dr. Louis Smith, head of the Montana State College Bacteriology Department, said he has made cultures of the infection in an attempt to pin down the type organism which developed in the wounds. He said it would be two to seven days before the cultures are completed.
Other sources told UPI gangrenous-type infections are not unusual in wounds such as those suffered by persons injured in the slide, where dirt and mud were ground into the torn tissue.
[Billings Gazette; August 24, 1959]


Editors Note: Dr. Edgar W. Spencer is chairman of the Geology Department of Washington and Lee University, Lexington, Va. For two years he has been studying earthquake patterns in Montana's Madison Mountains as part of a project sponsored by Washington and Lee and the National Science Foundation. Since a sudden quake rocked the area last week he has again inspected the scene both from the air and on the ground. Here is his explanation of what happened and why.

By Dr. Edgar W. Spencer
As told to The Associated Press
WEST YELLOWSTONE (AP)--The earthquake disaster at Hebgen Lake is a grim reminder of the tremendous energy which is stored in the earth and released through a great number of natural processes.
It also points out dramatically that the planet on which we live is a dynamic body subject to sudden and violent change.
There apparently was no warning before sudden and violent displacement opened up gaping fissures near Hebgen Lake the night of Aug. 17. But it is remembered now that waterfowl and other birds left the area the afternoon before the first shocks. They returned several days later.
Changes Normal
Changes in the earth are normally so slow that man very rarely has an opportunity to observe a movement in the crust of the earth of the nature and magnitude of the earthquake at Hebgen Lake. Only a few earthquakes of this magnitude have been recorded within the continental limits of the United States and all have brought tragedy in their wake.
Earthquakes are not rare. Thousands of slight earth movements are recorded by seismographs each year, but earthquakes in the magnitude range of 7 to 10 are extremely rare.
This earthquake has been recorded as one of magnitude of 7.2 to 7.8 on a scale on which 10 would mean total destruction in the immediate area of the quake.
Earthquakes are known to be caused by two natural processes, volcanic eruptions and faulting. The Montana earthquake of last week was caused by a faulting movement in the earth's crust. A fault is a break through the solid rock beneath the soil along which movement and resulting displacement of the two sides occurs.
Three faults moved at Hebgen Lake on the night of Aug. 17, just before midnight. Each one runs approximately parallel to the lake, displacing the earth along it as much as 15 feet vertically.
Many Fractures
One fault may be traced near a ranchhouse. At 11:45 p.m. Monday evening a flat smooth surface road ran behind the ranchhouse. Several minutes later the road on the north side of the fault stood nearly 20 feet above that on the other side.
In a zone several hundred feet wide the earth was cracked as though pulled apart, with many small vertical fractures and cracks extending parallel to the main fault scar.
When a faulting movement such as this occurs, the rock along the fault is dragged and ruptured and vibrations are set up in the rocks which travel out from the rupture. This is accompanied by a rumbling noise, like that of a train passing nearby. Several types of vibrations or shock waves are produced. Some are transmitted through the earth very rapidly. Some are like sound waves traveling through rock. Others are carried by slight shearing or twisting of the earth's interior along their paths.
These waves cause slight movements of the earth's surface as they hit and may be recorded by an extremely sensitive seismograph.
A man whose house was cut by one of the faults described the motion as that of being in a boat on a heavy, choppy sea. In West Yellowstone people were thrown out of bed and many were unable to walk on the ground because of the ground swells.
Intense Near Faults
The waves were most intense near the faults where the motions were generated. There the waves were high relative to their length and they came rapidly. Heavy shocks continued for several hours, but have been slowly diminishing since that time.
Relatively little property damage and no loss of life was caused directly by the displacement along the faults. It was the ground motion set up by the surface waves which brought about the disaster.
The Madison River Canyon west of Hebgen Lake is a deeply incised and narrow canyon. The walls of the canyon rise nearly 3,000 feet above the river and are less than two miles across at the top of the canyon. The slopes on the walls of the canyon are in places between 30 and 35 degrees, the maximum slope on which loose rock will repose without slipping.
When the surface waves brought about vibrations much of this loose material began to slip and slide down the slopes. Several people were killed in the slides and rock falls resulting from this cause, but the reason for the largest slide and the formation of the natural dam is different.
An estimated 5 million cubic yards of rock and debris moved about a half a mile in less than a minute. It broke and fell from one mountain side, leaving a huge scar and forming a natural dam estimated to be 150 to 200 feet above the valley floor at its lowest point.
Old Scars Visible
This deluge of boulders, soil and trees fell because the solid crystalline rocks on the south side of the canyon were unstable. The rocks there are stratified (formed in layers). These layers are fractured and steeply sloping toward the river.
Aerial photos of the area taken before this quake show the outlines of old slide scars which must have moved thousands of years ago. When the earthquake occurred, the ground motion caused by the surface waves set the strata in vibration and soon dislodged enough rock to trigger a huge mass movement of the slope.
It roared down into the canyon, sloshed up the other side and flowed as a glacier of rock up and down the valley. At present, the Army Engineers and other government agencies are surveying the resulting natural dam to decide whether to destroy it, allowing the river to resume its normal path, or to make a permanent dam of it.
One of the most frequently asked questions is why did faults form along Hebgen Lake? The answer to this is not simple.
The movements at Hebgen Lake occurred along faults which formed many millions of years ago when the mountain system which we know as the Rocky Mountains came into existence. At that time a chain of mountains extending from Alaska to the Antarctic rose out of a sea which occupied this region. In the Montana and Wyoming area the Rocky Mountains take the form of large block-like mountain ranges separated by broad basins.
All of these mountain ranges are bounded by steep faults on two or more sides. It was along these faults (or zones of weakness in the earth's crust) that the blocks initially rose, some as much as 20,000 feet. Although the Rockies are about 70 million years old, they are young mountains compared with ranges like the Blue Ridge and adjustments within the crust under them have not ceased.
Preliminary surveys of these faults indicates that the crust was stretched near the surface.
The resulting movement and tension at the surface caused the northeast side of Hebgen Lake to be slightly depressed as that side dropped down along a fault. Cabins and parts of the highway were submerged as a result, and others were dropped into the lake by a slumping of the loose rock and soil along the edge of the lake. Somewhat similar movements occurred along the faults farther up the mountainside.
The net movement would have produced a step like pattern if it had occurred on a flat surface.
While this is one of the most intense earthquakes to hit Montana, it is one of many thousands that have been recorded in this area previously, most of which were too slight to be felt. Although no one can predict when or where the next will occur, it is certain that this is not the last.
[Billings Gazette; August 26, 1959]


Search Party Back From Quake Area

Relatives of Mr. and Mrs. Bernie Boynton held the belief Wednesday the Billings couple are buried under a slide that swept Madison River Canyon on August 17.
A search party returned Wednesday after a fruitless hunt for clues in the quake-shaken area.
The party, made up of Mike Denda, New York, Mrs. Boynton's brother, Marilyn Moes, Mrs. Boynton's daughter, Mort Boynton Jr., Mr. Boynton's son, Harry Wardell and Frank Pierce, close family friends, left Billings Monday and returned early Wednesday morning.
The search started at Bozeman where the group interviewed several slide survivors in a Bozeman hospital. A Mr. Armstrong recalled seeing Mr. Boynton in the fatal slide area. Mr. and Mrs. Clarence Scott, when furnished with a description of the Boynton's car and trailer, were almost positive the Billings couple was parked in the Rock Creek campground in an area known as "The Point" about 4 p.m., either Sunday or Monday.
Find Gas Ticket
Verification that the Boyntons were in the area was obtained from a service station, where records indicated they bought gasoline at 3 p.m. Sunday, and were headed for the park.
The search moved then to Virginia City where the group examined clothing and articles gathered from the slide area, but found no clues. All of the clothing had been identified by the Red Cross at Bozeman.
With close cooperation from officers and the Red Cross, the party drove to Ennis, where a ranger suggested calling west entrance to Yellowstone National Park to see if the Boynton's car had passed through. Making the call, however, the group found that no records of cars or trailers moving into camping areas were kept at the West Yellowstone ranger station.
The next move was an interview of still another survivor, Mrs. P. Bennett, in an Ennis hospital who could throw no light on the search.
At the slide area in Madison River canyon, the party found another group of articles and clothing gathered from around a zoo just south of the slide. A close examination of the articles produced no clues.
The search ended at the slide, where a construction foreman sent one man below the slide to check the license number of a blue car stranded below the area. The license number did not check with the Boynton's number.
Both Pierce and Denda said the general slide area was still trembling Tuesday, with small slides occurring almost constantly.
Back in Billings the only clue left to the group is a rumor picked up that the Boyntons had invited acquaintances for coffee Tuesday morning, Aug. 18. The slide prevented that invitation being carried out.
[Billings Gazette; August 27, 1959]


Temperatures And Silt Flow Major Worries Of Biologists

By Al Funderburke
Although the Madison River was hard hit by the August 17th quake, fish experts are hopeful the famed trout stream is not doomed.
With fingers crossed on one hand, and a rabbit's foot in the other, fish biologists are predicting the majority of game fish below Hebgen Lake and the slide may survive, but add a couple of "ifs."
The first "if" centers around temperatures during the remainder of the summer. With water flow reduced to one-tenth its normal volume, the flow is spread over the broad river bottom to a depth of only a few inches. Fish are able to survive in the reduced flow, provided water temperature does not bounce into the dangerous high 70s.
The second worry concerns silt flow. If, and when, waters of the newly formed Quake Lake reach the top of the slide dam, the overflow is expected to carry silt and debris over the top into the stream.
A crew of experts from three agencies, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Billings, fishery department of Montana State College in Bozeman, and state fish and game department from Bozeman, surveyed the river closely during the past weekend.
Joe Halterman, fisheries biologist from the Bureau of Sports Fisheries, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Billings, moved into the quake area Friday, checking conditions from Hebgen Lake downstream past the slide, and river below.
Part of Bed Dry
Halterman found a powder dry stream bed immediately below the quake-created dam, but seepage and small tributaries were producing a reasonable flow 500 feet downstream. The flows picks up considerably, amounting to 100 second feet two miles below the slide. Although far below the normal 1,000 to 1,500 second foot flow, the stream has enough water to support fish, Halterman believes. When tested last week, the river temperature stood in the safe 60s. Shorter days and cooler nights lead Halterman and others to hope the trout will survive through the rest of the summer.
With Quake Lake rising steadily, the silt problem will present itself when water reaches the top of the dam and flows over into the river. Harry Goodwin, supervisor of the Bureau of Sports Fisheries, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for the Missouri River Basin, points to the gradient, or fall, of approximately 30 feet to the mile from the mouth of Madison canyon to Ennis, with the ability to carry a fair sized load of silt, as a hopeful sign.
Few Fish Killed
Halterman's survey of the quake area turned up a far smaller number of fish killed than expected by the slide and resulting silting of water. He conjectured that many fish may have been tossed up on the slide, or washed far back out in the brush by shock waves, but were picked up by mink, otter, and scavengers before the survey was made.
A shock test was carried out by the state fish and game department at the time of Halterman's survey, but results will not be known until the findings are analyzed.
Two other problems, concerning fishermen more than fish, were created by the slide.
Was Blue Ribbon Area
Although fish have been spotted in Quake Lake, this area will not be considered good fishing for some time. Inundation of the eight miles of river between the slide and Hebgen Lake takes a good chunk out of the 98 miles of fishing in the Madison. The eight miles involved was in the "blue ribbon" section of the Madison, located on park land and offering easy access. Fish population in the eight mile strip before the quake was estimated as a pound of trout per foot of river, making the stream one of the top fishing areas in the country.
Another indirect problem is the possible location of a new highway. Since many miles of paved roads were sluffed off by the slide, any new highway must be constructed higher on the mountain flanks. This would put access roads far above the Madison, with river access possible only by climbing steep slopes.
But sizing up the entire situation, Goodwin, Halterman and others put it this way, "The Madison will be hurt badly, at least temporarily, but we are hoping there will be no great loss of the existing fish population. The Madison will survive."
[Billings Gazette; August 27, 1959]


Earthquake Damage To Force Closing

BUTTE (AP)--Because of earthquake damage Butte's Franklin School in the Meaderville area has been pronounced unsafe for use this fall. It will not be reopened for the term.
School authorities estimated Thursday that repairs necessitated throughout parts of the school district will cost between $75,000 and $100,000.
A survey made through Catholic pastors here at the same time indicated that parochial schools seemed to have suffered little, if any,
Curiously, the Franklin School is only 1 blocks from the Holy Savior School, which had no damage.
School Supt. George Haney and Kevin Shannon, chairman of the school board's building committee, said the decision to keep Franklin closed was reached after an inspection. This was made by Maurice Strickland of the State Board of Equalization's safety department and school board members.
Strickland reported the Aug. 17 quake weakened some of the classroom floors, cracked walls, and loosened the north and south walls at the top. The school's chimney fell.
The Franklin faculty and students will be assigned to other buildings, it was announced.
[Billings Gazette; August 28, 1959]

Lions Get Report From Delegate

"Sitting on the hillside, you could hear them scream and couldn't get down to get them out."
That is how Anton J. Schreiber of 432 Broadwater Ave. Thursday described the plight of the Madison Valley campers during the Aug. 17 earthquake to the Lions Club in the Chamber of Commerce.
Schreiber and his family and party fled to higher ground after the landslide and wall of water demolished his Rock Creek campsite.
Strikes Suddenly
He described the suddenness of the tragedy and the heroic efforts of participants to relieve the agony of the injured.
His mother-in-law, Mrs. Margaret Holmes, was flown out of the quake area by helicopter but later died of her injuries.
"I'm glad that I'm here and my family is here," he told the Lions, "but the ordeal is one that will be hard to forget."
[Billings Gazette; August 28, 1959]


Nearly 50 Attend Joint-Faith Rites

ENNIS (AP)--The souls of those persons presumed buried by an earthquake slide were committed into the hands of God Thursday afternoon from a sun-drenched, windy slope just outside the mouth of Madison Canyon.
Nearly 50 persons, including sheriff's officers, Forest Service employees, and Red Cross personnel, attended the 15-minute service, conducted by representatives of Protestant, Catholic and Hebrew faiths.
Six persons are missing and presumed buried by the side of an 8,000-foot mountain which toppled onto a canyon campground the night of Aug. 17. The Red Cross has no account for 40 other persons. Nine bodies have been recovered.
Held Mile From Slide
The committal rites were held about a mile from the mammoth mile-long and several hundred feet deep slide. Sheriff's officers vetoed a plan to hold services on the slide itself. The slide, however, was visible from the sagebrush-covered slope a mile away.
"These people had come to escape the maddening crowd and found their last resting place in the beauty they loved," said Rabbi Max Kert of Butte, referring to the pine-covered mountain valley. "From the womb of women to the womb of earth is but a brief span in days but the effect of character that is the human soul is of eternity. The anonymity of those sleeping in the ground enhances the brotherhood of those who gathered to bid them fare well."
Services Are Short
Bishop Chandler Sterling of the Montana Episcopal Diocese recited psalms of the Old Testament.
"Unto God's gracious mercy and protection we commit you," he said. "Lord accept these prayers on behalf of the souls of Thy servants departed. Grant them an entrance into the land of life and joy in the fellowship of Thy saints."
The Roman Catholic committal services were conducted by the Rev. Lawrence Jensen of Laurin and Father Byrne of Ennis. Assisting the Anglican bishop was the Rev. Ralph Krohn of Townsend.
Each service took about five minutes.
Rabbi Kert said the ride from Butte to the canyon was the "longest, roughest ride I have ever taken." The minister referred to quake-caused cracks and dips in the road which produced a washboard effect, forcing a slow drive.
[Billings Gazette; August 28, 1959]