Lacota: Matho Thipila (literally
"Bear Lodge") or Ptehe Gi ("Buffalo Horn")
Kiowa: Aloft on a Rock, Tree
Description of Devil's Tower National Monument
Devil's Tower National Monument is located in
Crook County, Wyoming in United States. Devil's Tower National Monument is a unique
geologic formation known as a laccolithic butte composed of
igneous rock. It was formed as a plug in a former volcano. Lava
made its way to the surface of the volcano and solidified. Over
thousands of years remains of the mountain underwent erosion
leaving this majestic monument to natural beauty. Lakota Native
tribes called this notable formation Matho Thipila (literally
"Bear Lodge") or Ptehe Gi ("Buffalo Horn"). It reaches a height
of 865 ft (265 m). Devil's Tower is a popular destination
of with mountain climbers that dare to make up its vertical
slopes every year.
The landscape surrounding the Devil's Tower
consists mainly of sedimentary rocks. The oldest rocks visible in
the National Monument were in a shallow sea during the Middle or
Late Triassic period, 225 to 195 million years ago. This dark red
sandstone and garnet siltstone, interspersed with slate, can be seen
along the Belle Fourche river. Oxidation of iron minerals causes
reddening of the rocks. This layer of rock is known as the Spearfish
Formation. On the Spearfish Formation there is a thin band of
gypsum, called Gypsum Springs Formation. This layer of plaster was
deposited during the Jurassic period, 195 to 136 million years ago.
Created as sea levels and climates changed repeatedly, grayish
shales (deposited in low oxygen environments such as salt marshes)
were interspersed with fine-grained sandstones, limestones, and
sometimes fine beds of red clay.
During the Paleocene era, 56
to 66 million years ago, the Rocky Mountains and the Black Hills
rose. The magma ascended through the crust and intruded the layers
of existing sedimentary rocks. The igneous material that forms the
Devil's Tower is a phorolytic porphyrid intruded some 40.5 million
years ago, in the Eocene, As the magma cooled and its volume
decreased, cracks formed at predominant angles of 120 degrees,
forming the hexagonal columns (sometimes of 4, 5 and 7 sides), each
of about 180 cm in diameter.
The mass of igneous rock,
already crystallized, did not manifest itself in the landscape until
the sedimentary rocks that covered and surrounded it eroded. As the
elements eroded the softer sandstones and shales, the more resistant
igneous rock resisted the erosion forces to a greater extent. As a
result, the gray columns of the Devil's Tower began to appear as an
isolated mass highlighting the landscape.
Fees and permits
Park entrance fees are $10 for a private vehicle,
or $5 for a hiker, bicyclist or motorcyclist. All entrance fees are
valid for seven consecutive days.
There are several passes
for groups traveling together in a private vehicle or individuals on
foot or on bike. These passes provide free entry at national parks
and national wildlife refuges, and also cover standard amenity fees
at national forests and grasslands, and at lands managed by the
Bureau of Land Management and Bureau of Reclamation. These passes
are valid at all national parks including Devils Tower National
The $80 Annual Pass (valid for twelve months from
date of issue) can be purchased by anyone. Military personnel can
obtain a free annual pass in person at a federal recreation site by
showing a Common Access Card (CAC) or Military ID. U.S. citizens
or permanent residents age 62 or over can obtain a Senior Pass
(valid for the life of the holder) in person at a federal recreation
site for $80, or through the mail for $90; applicants must provide
documentation of citizenship and age. This pass also provides a
fifty percent discount on some park amenities. Seniors can also
obtain a $20 annual pass. U.S. citizens or permanent residents
with permanent disabilities can obtain an Access Pass (valid for the
life of the holder) in person at a federal recreation site at no
charge, or through the mail for $10; applicants must provide
documentation of citizenship and permanent disability. This pass
also provides a fifty percent discount on some park amenities.
Individuals who have volunteered 250 or more hours with federal
agencies that participate in the Interagency Pass Program can
receive a free Volunteer Pass. 4th graders can receive an Annual
4th Grade Pass that allows free entry for the duration of the 4th
grade school year (September-August) to the bearer and any
accompanying passengers in a private non-commercial vehicle.
Registration at the Every Kid in a Park website is required. In
2018 the National Park Service will offer four days on which entry
is free for all national parks: January 15 (Martin Luther King Jr.
Day), April 21 (1st Day of NPS Week), September 22 (National Public
Lands Day), and November 11 (Veterans Day weekend).