Speak of the Devil
Steven Dutch, Natural and Applied Sciences, University
of Wisconsin - Green Bay
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I've always found it interesting that Americans profess to believe that God
created everything and will rail against evolution, but tend to name most remarkable landforms after the devil. Here are a few.
There are far too many to list completely.
A small intrusion, best known as the locale for the finale
of Close Encounters of the Third Kind.
Devil's Gate is a remarkable example of superposed or antecedent drainage.
The Sweetwater River cuts a narrow 100-meter deep slot through a granite ridge,
yet had it flowed less than a kilometer to the south, it could have bypassed the
ridge completely. The gorge was cut because the landscape was originally buried
by valley fill sediments. The river cut downward and when it hit granite, kept
on cutting. It was a matter of pure chance that the river hit the buried ridge
where it did. This was a prominent landmark on the Oregon Trail.
A small lava flow with remarkably regular columnar jointing
and wonderful glacial polish on the top.
Devil's Slide, Utah
On I-84 southeast of Ogden
So named because the lake has no outlets and anything subterranean tends to
be associated with the Devil. The lake occupies a deep canyon in the Baraboo
Hills, dammed at both ends by glacial moraines. The panorama below shows both
moraines. Despite the name, this has long been a favorite recreation spot and is
now a state park.
Devil's Island, Wisconsin
||No, not the infamous French penal colony, made famous by Steve
McQueen and Dustin Hoffman in Papillon, but the northernmost of
the Apostle Islands in
Wisconsin. In fact, the point nearest the camera here is the
northernmost point in Wisconsin.
Devil's Slide, Montana
A smooth slope of easily eroded red siltstone located just a
few miles north of Yellowstone National Park.
Mount Diablo, California
This 3849 foot isolated peak is located in the Coast Ranges
east of San Francisco and on a clear day offers a spectacular view that
literally takes in half of California. The meridian and base line for the
survey grid that covers most of California and all of Nevada intersect on
the summit. The summit tower is just visible at far right.
Geologically, this is a remarkable structure, a plug of metamorphic
rocks pushed upward through overlying sedimentary rocks. This is not an
igneous structure nor, contrary to widespread local misconception, is it
an extinct volcano.
The origin of the name is unclear but most of the stories revolve
around early Spanish explorers being frightened by an Indian shaman in
Devil's Garden, Utah
Devil's Gulch, South Dakota
A narrow cleft in the Sioux Quartzite north of Sioux Falls.
According to tradition, Jesse James once jumped his horse across the chasm
to escape a posse.
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Created 03 December 2003, Last Update
01 July 2012
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