Crazy Horse Memorial, South Dakota

Steven Dutch, Natural and Applied Sciences, University of Wisconsin - Green Bay
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Map of Black Hills, SD

Map of Crazy Horse Memorial, SD

Map of Crazy Horse Memorial, SD

Right Place, Right Time

Crazy Horse sculpture from Route 16.
Crazy Horse Memorial, SD The Crazy Horse Memorial in the Black Hills of South Dakota is open the first weekend in June for a Volksmarch. In 2002 I was lucky enough to be there at the right time.

Think nobody would come all the way from Rapid City to do the hike? Guess again!

Crazy Horse Memorial, SD Crazy Horse Memorial, SD
Crazy Horse Memorial, SD Crazy Horse Memorial, SD
Crazy Horse Memorial, SD Crazy Horse Memorial, SD
Crazy Horse Memorial, SD "Volksmarch"  is German for "People's March." It's a popular custom in Europe, where swarms of hikers turn out for group hikes, but isn't as well known in the U.S.

The Way Up

Crazy Horse Memorial, SD That's not shrubbery on the arm - it's people, from end to end. That's how popular this event is.
Crazy Horse Memorial, SD This may be art but it's also heavy engineering. A service road leading to the sculpture.
Crazy Horse Memorial, SD Participants checking in at a checkpoint.

Below: views of the memorial. The face is done and the arm and horse's head are being outlined and roughed in.

Crazy Horse Memorial, SD Crazy Horse Memorial, SD
Crazy Horse Memorial, SD Crazy Horse Memorial, SD
Crazy Horse Memorial, SD Crazy Horse Memorial, SD
Crazy Horse Memorial, SD Crazy Horse Memorial, SD

What You Don't See From the Highway           

Crazy Horse Memorial, SD Crazy Horse Memorial, SD
Crazy Horse Memorial, SD Crazy Horse Memorial, SD
Crazy Horse Memorial, SD Crazy Horse Memorial, SD

View From the Top

Crazy Horse Memorial, SD Crazy Horse Memorial, SD
Crazy Horse Memorial, SD Crazy Horse Memorial, SD
Crazy Horse Memorial, SD Crazy Horse Memorial, SD

Geology of the Memorial            

Crazy Horse Memorial, SD Contrast between finished and rough rock
Crazy Horse Memorial, SD The memorial is geologically very similar to Mount Rushmore: a pod of granitic migmatite surrounded by schists and slates. This and many other knobs in the Black Hills stand above their surroundings because they are more resistant than the metamorphic rocks around them.
Crazy Horse Memorial, SD The hill behind (north of) the memorial is another pod of granitic migmatite that stands out in relief.
Crazy Horse Memorial, SD Left and below: close-ups of the migmatitic rocks
Crazy Horse Memorial, SD Crazy Horse Memorial, SD
Crazy Horse Memorial, SD A xenolith in the migmatitic rocks.
Crazy Horse Memorial, SD Natural exposure of migmatitic rocks.
  Crazy Horse Memorial, SD The contact between the migmatitic rocks and schist can be seen on the back side of Crazy Horse's head. Below are closeups of the contact.
Crazy Horse Memorial, SD Crazy Horse Memorial, SD
Crazy Horse Memorial, SD Lfft: a contact between schist and granite

Below: the schists and slates that surround the monument.

Crazy Horse Memorial, SD Crazy Horse Memorial, SD

Armpit of South Dakota

Crazy Horse Memorial, SD What will eventually be a gap between Crazy Horse's arm and the mane of his horse has been roughed out. The dipping fractures are related to the foliation or grain of the migmatite
Crazy Horse Memorial, SD Crazy Horse Memorial, SD

The Way Down

Crazy Horse Memorial, SD The return via the service road east of the memorial offers clearer views of the end of the memorial than the hike up.
Crazy Horse Memorial, SD Crazy Horse Memorial, SD
Crazy Horse Memorial, SD Crazy Horse Memorial, SD
Crazy Horse Memorial, SD Crazy Horse Memorial, SD
Crazy Horse Memorial, SD Crazy Horse Memorial, SD
 
Crazy Horse Memorial, SD Left and below: schists on US 16-385 just outside the memorial.
 

The Visitor Center

Visitor Center with the sculpture in the background.
 
Looking up at the peak of the tepee.
Left and below: The design of the sculpture with the work in progress behind it.
 
 
 

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Created 7 April 2003, Last Update 01 July 2012

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