U.S. Geological Survey
Thursday, June 15, 2017, 9:03 PM MDT (Friday, June 16, 2017, 03:03 UTC)


44°25’48” N 110°40’12” W, Summit Elevation 9203 ft (2805 m)

Current Volcano Alert Level: NORMAL

Current Aviation Color Code: GREEN

The University of Utah, a YVO member agency, sent out the following press release about a magnitude 4.5 earthquake near West Yellowstone, MT that occurred at 6:48 PM MDT.


University of Utah Seismograph Stations

Released: June 15, 2017 07:55 PM MDT

The University of Utah Seismograph Stations reports that a light earthquake of magnitude 4.5 occurred at 06:48 PM on June 15, 2017 (MDT). The epicenter of the shock was located in Yellowstone National Park, eight miles north-northeast of the town of West Yellowstone, Montana. The earthquake was reported felt in the towns of West Yellowstone and Gardiner, Montana, in Yellowstone National Park, and elsewhere in the surrounding region. Today’s earthquake is part of an energetic sequence of earthquakes in the same area that began on June 12. This sequence has included approximately thirty earthquakes of magnitude 2 and larger and four earthquakes of magnitude 3 and larger, including today’s magnitude 4.5 event. Today’s earthquake is the largest earthquake to occur in Yellowstone National Park since March 30, 2014, when a magnitude 4.8 event occurred 18 miles to the east, near Norris Geyser Basin.

Anyone who felt the earthquake is encouraged to fill out a survey form either on the Seismograph Stations website: or the US Geological Survey website:

The Yellowstone Volcano Observatory (YVO) provides long-term monitoring of volcanic and earthquake activity in the Yellowstone National Park region. Yellowstone is the site of the largest and most diverse collection of natural thermal features in the world and the first National Park. YVO is one of the five USGS Volcano Observatories that monitor volcanoes within the United States for science and public safety.

YVO Member agencies: USGS, Yellowstone National Park, University of Utah, University of Wyoming, UNAVCO, Inc., Wyoming State Geological Survey, Montana Bureau of Mines and Geology, Idaho Geological Survey 


Jacob Lowenstern, Scientist-in-Charge

Sheriff’s Office Conducts Mounted Patrol Basic


This four-day course is being hosted by the Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office the week of June 12-15, 2017 in Bozeman, MT. The course covers the skills and tools sworn horse and rider teams need to operate safely during special events and on patrol.

The training includes obstacles and desensitization, mounted arrest, officer safety, crowd control, formation riding, and public relations. Basic equitation, policy, and equipment will also be covered.

The course will be instructed by Gallatin County Deputy Jackie Stewart and Deputy Brian Dickerson with the GCSO Mounted Patrol. Also instructing will be Jackson PD’s Sgt. Russ Ruschill, Commander of the Jackson PD Mounted Patrol and the Citizen’s Mounted Unit.

The course will be held at the Circle L Arena located at 4350 Spain Bridge Rd. between Bozeman and Belgrade, MT.

Tomorrow, Wednesday, beginning at 1:30 pm would be a great time to see some of the highlights of the course. The group will also be in uniform training in Manhattan Thursday afternoon.

For more information contact Captain Shane Frantz at 406 582-2120 or at

Cancelled – Western Gallatin County to See High Rivers Friday

The National Weather Service has revised their forecast for the Jefferson River as of 10:00 am on Tuesday June 13th.  The new forecast shows a forecast of 7.6 feet on Friday for the Jefferson River in the Willow Creek and Three Forks areas.  Please disregard Media Release 170613-01 (below).


GCEM Media Release

Release:  170613-01
Contact:  Patrick Lonergan, (406) 582-2395

Western Gallatin County to See High Rivers Friday

Three Forks, MT – The Jefferson River around Three Forks and Willow Creek is forecast to approach Moderate Flood Stage Friday morning.  The current forecast is for the Jefferson River to crest at 8.4 feet around 7:00 am and historically the community has seen roads and homes affected at a height of 8.5′.

People in the area around the Jefferson River are encouraged to closely monitor the river and use caution if they encounter flood waters.  Property owners who feel their property could be affected from flooding should develop a plan now on how they will protect their property if they are affected by flooding.  The highest water level will likely mostly during the night, so don’t be caught off guard.  Gallatin County’s Emergency Management Director Patrick Lonergan points out, “Once flooding has occurred, the damage is done and it is often too late to protect your property.  So develop a plan on how you will protect your property and don’t be afraid to implement it.”

Information on current river information, flood preparedness and flood safety is available at


Missing Hiker Found

(West Yellowstone, Mont).

On Tuesday June 6, 2017, Gallatin County Search and Rescue completed their two and a half day search for an overdue hiker in the Beaver Creek area northwest of West Yellowstone, Montana.  At 11:30 this morning a search team including a k9 discovered the hiker, identified as  Mike Petersen of Bismark, North Dakota,  deceased a quarter mile south of the confluence of Beaver and West Fork Creeks.  A Gallatin County Sheriff’s Coroner will determine cause and manner of death.

The event began near 10:00 pm on Sunday evening with the report of a 42 year old male from North Dakota who failed to return to the designated rendezvous pick-up point. The Mr. Petersen has been in the Beaver Creek area several times over the past four (4) months, knew the area and had backcountry experience. He left on his hike with enough survival equipment to stay in the forest and signal for help.  Initial search activity included personnel from the West Yellowstone division of Gallatin County Search & Rescue, Hebgen Basin Rural Fire District, Air Methods helicopter and Two Bear Air Rescue Helicopter from the Flathead County Sheriff’s Office.  Air Methods conducted an initial search by air until rainy weather forced them to land.  Two Bear Air picked up the air search a couple of hours later using Forward Looking Infa- red Radar throughout the early morning hours of Monday.  Air efforts then continued throughout Monday with Two Bear Air, while they also assisted in moving ground resources into the designated search zone.

Mondays ground search efforts consisted of 25 individuals from Gallatin County Search & Rescue crews from West Yellowstone, Big Sky, and the Gallatin valley; National Forest Service Personnel, Hebgen Basin Rural Fire District, and three K-9 dog search teams.

Tuesday’s continued search efforts involved the same personnel from Monday with additional air resources from Central Helicopter, and ground teams from Madison County SAR, Ruby Valley SAR, and Department of Livestock. The total ground personnel was in excess of 40 individuals.

Gallatin County Sheriff’s office would like to offer his condolences to the family of this tragic accident and to thank all of the volunteers who came together in this very large scale search and rescue event.  Sheriff Gootkin commented that in the last few weeks water tragedies are all to common.  He said “Especially this time of year when water levels are high extra caution around water is needed.”

Photo courtesy of the Sheriff’s Office.