3 Earthquakes Near Yellowstone

Three more earthquakes shook an area near Yellowstone National Park early Friday morning.

The three early morning aftershocks came after an initial 4.5-magnitude quake occurred at 6:48 p.m. Thursday. It happened about 8 miles northeast of West Yellowstone. Nine earthquakes followed.

At 2:02 Friday, a 2.8-magnitude earthquake hit the same area. It was followed by a 2.7-magnitude quake at 6:40 a.m. and another one at 7:17 a.m.

The West Yellowstone Police Department says the initial earthquake was felt in the town that borders the park, but there were no reports of damage.

The University of Utah Seismograph Stations said the quake was part of “an energetic sequence” of about 30 earthquakes in the area that began on Monday. Thursday’s quake was the largest to occur in Yellowstone since a 4.8-magnitude quake in March 2014.

Earthquakes occur frequently in and around Yellowstone.

In 1959, the Hebgen Lake earthquake near Yellowstone in Montana killed 28 people.
[Local News Story]

Timothy Conant, Kayak Guide, Dies While Rescuing Client

A 23-year-old kayak guide, Timothy Hayden Ryan Conant from Salt Lake City, Utah, died while attempting to rescue a client who capsized on Wednesday, June 14. The incident occurred in the West Thumb area of Yellowstone Lake. The kayaking group consisted of nine clients and three guides.

After receiving a call through the park’s dispatch center, rangers responded to the scene in a patrol boat and found Mr. Conant in the water. They brought him on board and immediately started CPR while in route back to the dock. CPR continued as Mr. Conant was transported to the helipad at Grant Village via ambulance (approximately ½-mile from the dock). A Life Flight landed to assist, but Mr. Conant was pronounced dead before taking off.

The client, who Mr. Conant attempted to save, was rescued by other guides in the group and brought to shore before rangers arrived on scene to help Mr. Conant. The client was transported to the park clinic and treated for hypothermia.
[NPS Story]

Yellowstone Lake is  the largest natural freshwater lake in the United States that is above 7,000 feet. Its waters remain cool throughout the year, so hypothermia is a constant threat.

Man Falls into Hot Spring at Yellowstone

A 21-year-old man, Gervais Dylan Gatete from Raleigh, North Carolina, sustained severe burns after falling into a hot spring late on Tuesday, June 13. The incident occurred in the Lower Geyser Basin off of Fountain Flat Drive just north of the Old Faithful area. Mr. Gatete, currently an employee with Xanterra Parks and Resorts, was with seven other people when he fell.

Lower Geyser Basin Fountain Flat Drive

After the incident, the group attempted to evacuate Mr. Gatete by car. Just before midnight, they flagged down a ranger near Seven Mile Bridge on the West Entrance Road. Park staff provided immediate medical assistance and transported the patient via ambulance to the airport in West Yellowstone. From there, he was flown to a hospital.
[NPS Story]

[News Story]


Jeff Murphy, Missing Hiker in Yellowstone UPDATED June 9

Yellowstone National Park officials are searching for a missing man near the park’s northern entrance.

The park said in a press release that Jeff Murphy, a 53-year-old from Illinois, was last seen near the Rescue Creek trailhead around 8 a.m. Wednesday. The park says Murphy had planned a day hike to Turkey Pen Peak.

The park has closed the Rescue Creek trail because of the search.

Murphy is described about 5 feet 11 inches tall, weighing 190 pounds. The release said he wears glasses and may be wearing khaki pants, a yellow T-shirt, navy pullover, a green and gray rain jacket, and an army green backpack.

Anyone with information about the man are encouraged to call the park at 307-344-2643.
[News Story]


Today, park search crews located the body of Jeff Murphy who was missing near the park’s North Entrance. Mr. Murphy’s death appears to have resulted from a fall on Turkey Pen Peak.

At its peak, the search involved eight hiking teams, five dog teams, four horse teams, and a helicopter.
[NPS Story]

Missing Hiker’s Body Found Near Yellowstone National Park

A 42-year-old Bismarck, ND hiker was found dead in the West Yellowstone area on the fringes of Yellowstone National Park on Tuesday morning.

Montana authorities had been searching since Sunday night for Mike Petersen, who failed to show up at a designated rendezvous point, according to a press release from the Gallatin County  (Montana) Sheriff’s Office.

The cause of death has not yet been determined. Capt. Jason Jarrett said it had the “markings of a drowning,” since Petersen was found in a river that he would have needed to cross on his hike.

Petersen was hiking in the Beaver Creek area, which he had visited several times in the past four months, and had considerable backcountry experience, according to the sheriff’s office. He also had survival equipment and the ability to signal for help.
[News Story]

[Local TV Story]

Rare White Wolf Shot in Yellowstone

The famous and rare white wolf at the Yellowstone National Park was shot by an unknown gunman between April 3 at 4 a.m. and April 11 at 2 p.m. MDT. The alpha female wolf has been euthanized because of the acuteness of her wounds.

The investigators theorized that someone on the Yellowstone’s north side, possibly near Gardine, Mont., mortally shot the rare white wolf. The hikers found the injured 12-year-old wolf on April 11.

The well-known white wolf is also known as the “Queen of Hayden Valley” white wolf. It was the most famous and photographed pack in the Yellowstone. She was about twice the age of other wolves in the park. She had the same mate for over nine years and had at least 20 pups.

Yellowstone National Park Superintendent Dan Wenk said that with the serious nature of this happening, a reward of up to $5,000 is offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person(s) responsible for this criminal act. The Wolves of the Rockies, a wolf advocacy organization, also offered another $5,000 for a total of $10,000 that would lead to the information of the shooter.

[NPS Story]

[Local News Story]


Yellowstone National Park’s New Selfie Pledge

While monitoring incidents in the National Parks over the last few years, as well as reading the “Death in the Grand Canyon” kind of books, selfies are becoming the latest hazard to tourist safety.

That being the case, Yellowstone National Park has come out with a new Safe Selfies Policy. They ask visitors to take a pledge that includes a warning about selfies. You can click here to see the pledge.

Selfie incidents are a real problem.

Two summers ago, five people taking selfie photographs provoked bison into attacking them. No one was killed, but medical treatment had been needed. Last year, a tourist had died after walking off a pedestrian boardwalk into a thermal area.

I’m not sure a recitation of a pledge is going to do anything to help, but one never knows. People need reminders, but being stupid is so much more fun though!