The Fascinating History of Devils Tower

Devils Tower, also known as Bear Lodge Butte, is a hill composed of igneous rock located in the Bear Lodge of the Black ranger district. It is the first national monument in the United States, established in 1906 in northeastern Wyoming, near the Belle Fourche River. The tower has a flat top that covers 1.5 acres (0.6 hectares) and ribbed sides. It is 867 feet (264 meters) high measured from its base and 386 meters (1267 feet) measured from the river valley; its summit has an elevation of 5,112 feet (1558 meters) above sea level.

The tower probably formed when molten rock, which was pushed upwards, met with a layer of hard rock and was forced to spread out in the form of a flat top. Its color is mainly light gray and beige. Lichens cover parts of the tower and sage, moss and grass grow on top of it. The Devil's Tower was given its name by Pohd-lohk, an elderly Kiowa man who related the boy to the myth of the bear in the Devil's Tower.

Wooden Leg, a Cheyenne from the north, told another legend that an old man told him when they were traveling together next to the Devil's Tower between 1866 and 1868. Some of these wooden pegs are still intact and can be seen in the tower as you walk the 1.3-mile (2.1 km) Tower Trail from Devils Tower National Monument. Geologists Carpenter and Russell studied Devils Tower in the late 19th century and concluded that it was formed by an igneous intrusion. O'Harra (from the South Dakota School of Mines) theorized that Devils Tower must be an eroded remnant of a lacolite. Every year, thousands of climbers travel across the country to the porphyry phonolite walls of Devils Tower to climb the columnar pillars and intense crevice systems.

Devils Tower National Monument is an iconic monolith that stands tall in northeastern Wyoming, rising 1200 feet from the grasslands near the Belle Fourche River. It is a remarkable natural formation with a fascinating history that has captivated people for centuries.

Roxanne Cotner
Roxanne Cotner

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