CMMC: Devils Tower National Monument

Cee’s Midweek Madness Challenge August Alphabet is Must Have 2 M’s in the word. Her focus photo is of a hummingbird and her pictures includes a mom, mushrooms, and mammals as well as a monochrome image. After considering a variety of possibilities – particularly mushrooms from my digital archives – I began to lean toward museum, memorial, and monument.

When I couldn’t pick just one photo of Devils Tower National Monument (in northeast Wyoming) from the hundred or so I took back in May, I decided to just show you some of what I saw.

The top photo was taken from an Historic Marker (see it here) that is 1.7 miles south of the park. Did you notice the school bus in the lower right corner?

After driving the three miles from the park entrance to the parking lot and with plenty of time in my schedule, I decided to walk the 1.3 mile trail around the base of the Tower.

How tall is Devils Tower? Devils Tower is 867 feet from its base to the summit. It stands 1,267 feet above the Belle Fourche River and is 5,112 feet above sea level.

Why is it called Devils Tower? The name “Devils Tower” originated during an 1875 scientific expedition. The Army commander in charge of the military escort, Col. Richard Dodge, wrote that “the Indians call the shaft “Bad God’s Tower,” which he modified to “Devil’s Tower.” The earliest official maps of the area label the formation as “Bear Lodge,” which is a direct translation of the Lakota name Mato Tipila. Other American Indian names include Bear’s Tipi, Home of the Bear, Tree Rock and Great Gray Horn.

Is Devils Tower an old volcano? No. Geologists agree that Devils Tower is an igneous intrusion; this means it formed underground from molten rock. Magma pushed up into the surrounding sedimentary rock. There it cooled and hardened. The sedimentary rock has since eroded away to show the Tower.

What kind of rock is it? The rock is called phonolite porphyry; it is similar in composition to granite but lacks quartz. Phonolite refers to the ringing of the rock when a small slab is struck, and its ability to reflect sound. Porphyry refers to its texture: large crystals of feldspar embedded in a mass of smaller crystals.

From Frequently Asked Questions on the Devils Tower webpages of the National Park Service: https://www.nps.gov/deto/faqs.htm#onthisPage-2.

If you look very carefully, you might see a very old ladder as well as two climbers in the picture above. Quite honestly, I needed my binoculars! It also helped to see a picture to know what to look for (see below).

Enlarging the photo also helps (see below). In the comparison photo I circled the ladder and the hikers.

Three more photos to finish the hike. The arrow in the middle photo is pointing to a person.

And, yes, for those who are wondering, this is the tower in the movie Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977).

5 thoughts on “CMMC: Devils Tower National Monument

  1. Kristy May

    Brings back memories of when Michael & I walked around the tower years ago… climbers looked like ants & put the immensity of the tower into perspective! Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

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