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The Devils Tower

Proclaimed under the new Antiquities Act by President Theodore Roosevelt as the first American national monument in September 24, 1906, the Devils Tower rises to a height of 867 feet from its base (“A First National Monument”); 1,267 feet above the river valley in Belle Fourche River (National Park Service); and 5,112 feet above sea level (“A First National Monument”). It is situated in the Black Hills region in the northeastern Wyoming where its climate is typically mild, with a temperature high during the summer and zero level or below during winter. Some geologists found that the tower is around fifty million years old (Dockery).

The Devils Tower is also known as the Grizzly Bear’s Lodge among Native Americans as they consider it of value to their sacred rites and cultures (National Park Service). Legends arose which referred to the physique of the mountain. In one legend, it was said that the flat top of the mountain was used by an evil spirit as a drum so that people would become frightened. Another legend mentioned that a giant bear tried to climb the tower’s walls in order to get the girls who jumped at the top of it and wherein the “Great Spirit” helped the girls escape by making the rock bigger.

The grizzly bear clawed on the walls of the rock which resulted in the fluted gouges on the sides of the mountain (Krystek). Geologically, the Devils Tower was theorized to have formed from a magma intrusion which occurred through the intense heat and pressure under the earth’s surface. As Krysnek articulated, the laccolith or the intrusion of hot magma from under the earth’s surface happened millions of years ago, but due to other possible geologic reasons, the magma was not able to reach to the surface.

There was no formation of a caldera or a crater that would have sufficed explanation for a volcano. Needless to say, this national monument was not a volcano, and the laccolith cooled down while the previously formed sedimentary rocks occupied the outer surface of the mountain (Krysnek). It is a fact that the sedimentary rocks could easily be eroded, as in the case of the Devil’s Tower, such that the igneous rock had surfaced through in the course of time and in the course of continuous erosion.

Currently, the top of the Devils Tower is composed of the igneous phonolite porphyry (Krysnek). The furrow marks visibly seen on the outer walls of the tower are produced from the shrinking and pulling away of the vertical columns formed by the cooling process of the hot igneous rocks (Krysnek). Most parts of the tower are covered with lichens, moss, and grasses. Pine forests and grasslands cover the surrounding areas where birds, deer, bison, chipmunks, and prairie dogs abound (“Devils Tower National Monument”).

The Devils Tower, as mentioned above, has been considered as a sacred place to many Native American Indians. Every June, the tower is banned from visitors and mountaineers as due respect to the religious and traditional rites that the American Indians annually hold (“Devils Tower National Monument”). The mystery lies in the expanse of the Devils Tower. For instance, its name had been coined to ascribe to the violations made by Colonel Richard I. Dodge’s expedition for the reported presence of gold back in 1875.

The violations caused conflicts with respect to the Indian Treaty rights (“A First National Monument”). Works Cited “A First National Monument. ” About. com. 2009. The New York Times Company. 4 Apr. 2009 <http://usparks. about. com/library/weekly/aa092103. htm>. “Devils Tower National Monument. ” Encyclop? dia Britannica Online. 2009. Encyclop? dia Britannica. 4 Apr. 2009 <http://www. britannica. com/EBchecked/topic/160266/Devils-Tower-National-Monument>. Dockery, Ellen. “Geology and Physiography of Devils Tower.

” Impacts of Resource Development on Native American Lands. 16 Jan. 2009. Science Education Resource Center, Carleton College. 4 Apr. 2009 <http://serc. carleton. edu/research_education/nativelands/pineridge/geology3. html>. Krystek, Lee. “Weird Geology: The Devils Tower. ” The Museum of Unnatural Mystery. 2004. 4 Apr. 2009 <http://www. unmuseum. org/devtowergeo. htm>. National Park Service. “America’s First National Monument. ” Nps. gov. 3 Oct. 2008. US Department of the Interior. 4 Apr. 2009 <http://www. nps. gov/deto/>. .

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