As fate would have it, his team’s campsite was essentially at the epicentre, on a hill overlooking Hebgen Lake.
His mapping project was temporarily put on hold, and Mr Epstein spent the next several weeks escorting various teams of geologists around the area.
In spite of the human toll, Earth processes were on display in an unprecedented way, and the team had to take advantage of it.
He said in 2008: “It was a marvellous opportunity for a beginning geologist.”
Today, tourists to the area can stop by the Earthquake Lake Visitor Centre, which is situated 27 miles north of West Yellowstone to relive the horrors from more than half a century ago.
‘The 1959 Yellowstone Earthquake Disaster’ was published by The History Press in 2016 and is available to buy here.