Devil's Tower, a basalt outcrop

Devil's Tower, a basalt outcrop

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Credit: JOHN MEAD/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: View of the Devil's Tower, a basalt outcrop in Wyoming, USA. Opinion is divided as to the origins of this striking feature; to the Earth scientists the 2-metre wide hexagonal pillars it exhibits are clear evidence of close spaced columnar jointing formed by a relatively rapid cooling not far below the surface. The folklore of the American Indians, on the other hand, attributes the form of the outcrop to the work of a giant grizzly bear. Needless to say the debate still rages. The Devil's Tower found fame outside of geological circles after playing a central role in the Steven Spielberg film 'Close encounters of the third kind'.

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Keywords: basalt outcrop, devil's tower, earth science, geological, geology, rock, rocks

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