Today we get to cover an Inselberg (see part 1) that came from a hot (vs. mud) volcano!
I’ve never wanted to go see “Devils” Tower because of its name, but it turns out the man who interpreted the Native American name for it didn’t get it right and we should be calling it “Bears Lodge Tower.” So, next time I’m out west (my grandpa lives north of Seattle) I’ll try to stop by between Mt. Rushmore and Yellowstone!
Devils Tower in the northwest corner of Wyoming is one of the most extraordinary of the Basalt rock formations. But columns like this are actually not uncommon features around the world. This page has some cool pictures and an interesting description of the puzzle these types of rocks in Europe set for early modern geologists. Here’s another formation in Victoria, AU. And for a real treat, have a look at these pictures from around the world.
So how did such giant columns get clumped together to tower over the landscape like they do? This page is short and to the point with nice drawing of the processes that probably formed Devils Tower. Lava was being forced up toward the surface, found a narrow opening and squeezed up. As the lava cooled and shrank into basalt, it splintered into all those separate columns. The newly cooled basalt was much harder than the fresh Flood sedimentary rocks which got washed back toward the ocean leaving the basalt standing. Devils Tower is just unusual in how tall it is and that it stands alone.
The page on Devil’s Tower I used points out that the Missouri Buttes [b-you-ts smushed together] nearby were formed at the same time. I’ve driven out west with my mom (so I got to spend the trip looking out the window) and there are places where basalt column layers run along the cliffs for mile after mile. To see why, visit this page from ICR and look for the map (about 2/3 of the way down) of the lava flows that cover the American west. Wikipedia also has a page with a map on a flow area in southwestern Canada. That one is especially “cool” because the volcanos were going off during the Ice Age, so things got really interesting.
I found this article over at ICR and they answered some questions I hadn’t even been asking yet! They start talking about how the lava squeezed up, etc. but then they talk about some of the objections Old Earth geologists have. They say that if these enormous lava flows had just happened a few thousand years ago, they still wouldn’t be cool! That tells you just how much lava there was, doesn’t it? What the geologists forget is that this was during and right after the Flood. What do we use to cool our nuclear reactors with? Water. It is God’s natural coolant, and it was everywhere during the Flood. Then there was the Ice Age with all its snow, ice and rain just afterwards.Thank you, God, that the west isn’t still too hot to walk on!!
As for the earth, out of it cometh bread: and under it is turned up as it were fire. The stones of it are the place of sapphires: and it hath dust of gold. Job 28:5,6
Tomorrow I’m going to take you through a government educational page on Devils Tower. :-)