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Old 03-08-2009, 08:37 AM   #1
Wayne and Carolyn Mathews
Montana Master
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Dillon KOA
Posts: 1,291
M.O.C. #7445
Bozeman and Whitehall Earthquakes & Fires

Below are two photos of the recent fires-preceded-by-earthquakes that occurred in Montana on March 5th and March 6th. The photo on the left is of the Thursday fire that followed a gas line explosion on Main Street in Bozeman. From the local newspaper: "Several businesses were destroyed, including Boodles Restaurant, Boodles Bar, Lily Lu's (children's store), the Rocking R Bar, the Pickle Barrel that is located in the Rocking R Bar, Montana Trails Gallery, the American Legion building , and the Montana Dance Studio. The Rocky Mountain Rug Gallery and Starky's Authentic Deli were also significantly impacted by the explosion and subsequent fire." No deaths were reported; however, one woman is still unaccounted for.

Bozeman experienced an earthquake shortly prior to the fire, but officials don't think that had anything to do with the explosion and fire. The gas line that ruptured is one of the old ones in town, with no shutoff valves, which made fighting the fire difficult. The Three Forks/Manhattan/Amsterdam/Churchill/Bozeman area has had a string of minor quakes in the last week, but most of those were probably so weak that unless you were at the center of them, you wouldn't have felt much of anything.

The Whitehall fire occured Friday shortly before noon; Whitehall had also experienced an earthquake earlier that morning, not long before the fire erupted. The Dillon/Twin Bridges/Sheridan/Whitehall area, like Bozeman, also had experiences a string of minor quakes in the last week. As in Bozeman, officials don't think the earthquake and fire are related.

Bozeman is on I-90, between Butte and Billings. Whitehall is the turnoff point on I-90 for people taking Hwy. 41 to Dillon and/or I-15 to Idaho Falls, and further south (or the access point for people coming from Dillon/I-15 to get to I-90). Whitehall is the only decent stop for snacks and fuel between Bozeman and Dillon, and I've seen many Montanas stopped there in the past.

We live in an area that has frequent earthquakes, but we usually don't feel them unless they get up to the 2.7 or higher magnitude range. The last one we had when I was at work sent my hanging ceiling lights swinging wildly, but that was about it. At home, we had a really weird one not long ago. I was in the house watching Wayne and the dogs through the kitchen window when I heard a jet sound as though it were headed directly into the house. We occasionally have military jets flying over us very low, doing training, I guess, so I thought that was what I heard. Then the glasses in the cabinets started tinkling and the jet nloise changed to a low, thundering freight train roar. It was over in less than a minute, and other than the noise from the glasses and the roaring sound, that was it. When the jet sound occurred, the dogs kept on playing; when the train roar began, the dogs went about 5 feet straight up in the air. Wayne just had an interesting look on his face.

I was camping in Yellowstone with my parents in August 1959 when that 7.3 - 7.5 earthquake struck. I will never, ever forget going though that one and the aftershocks that occurred for days. My family and I were supposed to be camping in our RV in the Rock Creek/Madison Canyon area. However, a disaster between Houston and Amarillo sent our car and trailer to the junkyard, so we were driving a borrowed car and staying in one of the cabins at Old Faithful instead of in our trailer in the campground, the campground where many people died when the mountain came down and buried the campers.


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Old 03-08-2009, 08:59 AM   #2
Mrs. CountryGuy
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Join Date: Oct 2006
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prayers to those affected in these fires.
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