GALLATIN NATIONAL FOREST, Mont.(AP) - Fifty years ago today, a massive earthquake rocked the mountains of southeastern Montana, setting off a rockslide that buried a packed National Forest campground under 80 million tons of debris.
The Hebgen Lake earthquake remains the largest ever recorded in the Rocky Mountains. It killed 28 people on Aug. 17, 1959, and caused millions of dollars in damage. A rockslide triggered by the event destroyed a mile-long stretch of the Madison River Canyon. Nineteen people were lost beneath the rubble; their bodies were never found.
Earthquake Lake, which formed upstream when the Madison River backed up the canyon, is now a tourist attraction drawing tens of thousands of visitors annually.