Earthquake Lake Visitor Center
Learn a bit of local history at the Earthquake Lake Visitor Center which gives visitors a panoramic view of the mountain that fell and the lake that was formed in a 1959 earthquake. When it occurred, it was the second largest earthquake to occur in the lower 48 states in the 20th century. Twenty-eight people lost their lives when an earthquake near the Madison River triggered a massive landslide. The slide moved at 100 mph and in less than 1 minute, more than 80 million tons of rock crashed into the narrow canyon, blocking the Madison River and forming Earthquake Lake. This earth- changing event, known as the Hebgen Lake Earthquake, measured 7.5 on the Richter scale.
The visitor center has educational displays on earthquakes, plate tectonics, and a working seismograph. Visitors can easily see the lake and the effects of the strongest earthquake in the Rocky mountains. It's about 40 minutes from the Kelly Inn West Yellowstone, and makes a great half-day excursion with opportunities for dining and some short hikes.