|A SMALL LACCOLITH NEAR SUNDANCE, WYOMING.|
|SECTION FROM MISSOURI BUTTES EASTWARD TO BELLE FOURCHE RIVER THROUGH DEVILS TOWER. FROM USGS PROFESSIONAL PAPER 65, 1909.|
|NORTHWEST-SOUTHEAST SECTION THROUGH INYAN KARA MOUNTAIN. FROM USGS PROFESSIONAL PAPER 65, 1909.|
I-90 then proceeds into South Dakota toward the city of Spearfish. I have always enjoyed camping around, and visiting, this community for a number of reasons. Spearfish Canyon leaves town and follows Spearfish Creek southwest toward Savoy and a summit. A wonderful section of Paleozoic rocks are exposed along the route and the Creek offers some great fly fishing opportunities. One can also locate the “final scene” from the movie, Dances with Wolves (http://dances-with-wolves.purzuit.com/video/LR4j8iWu-OI.html). At this locality, up Forest Road 222 (west of Savoy), Wind in His Hair shouts from the cliff (Pahasapa Limestone of Mississippian age) as John Dunbar is leaving the tribe Shumanitutonka Ob Wachi! Although I took exception to movie's rendition of Fort Hays (I lived there for 24 years), this final scene in the Black Hills was pretty spectacular!
|CLIFF OF PAHASAPA LIMESTONE AT FINAL SCENE FROM DANCES WITH WOLVES.|
I also am fascinated by the area’s small laccoliths that just intrude and push up through the Paleozoic rocks. I am far from a petrologist or structural geologist and really do not understand all of the emplacement mechanisms except that somehow they seem related to the Laramide Orogeny; however, they are enjoyable to observe and climb—Crow Peak (5760 feet), Citadel Rock (5410 feet), Ragged Top (6220 feet) and Spearfish Peak (5764 feet). Most have a quartz latite porphyry (plagioclase phenocrysts in a fine groundmass of orthoclase feldspar; Lisenbee and others, 2007) in the center surrounded by the Cambrian-Ordovician Deadwood Formation (sandstone), some lower Paleozoic thin carbonates and the massive, cliff-forming Mississippian Pahasapa Limestone. Most structures are rather circular in nature and are generally “off the beaten path”. They evidently are Eocene in age and related to the other small intrusions. Elkhorn Mountain further east down I-70 is an intrusion where the igneous core has not been exposed and additional small laccoliths are located south of Sturgis.
In the Spearfish area I am especially enamored with Crow Peak. There is a beautiful “back road” leading out to the summit trail (1560 feet elevation gain) and it appears a fall drive would display some fantastic colors. I thank my guide Junior Geologist for introducing me to both the peak and the aptly named Crow Peak Brewing Company.
|CROW PEAK, AN EOCENE LACCOLITH NEAR SPEARFISH.|
|SECTION THROUGH CROW PEAK. FROM USGS PROFESSIONAL PAPER 65, 1909.|
|GEOLOGIC MAP OF CROW PEAK SHOWING CIRCULAR NATURE OF LACCOLITH AND IGNEOUS ROCKS IN THE CORE. FROM LISENBEE AND OTHERS, 2007.|
Lisenbee, A. L., J. A. Redden, and M. D. Fahrenbach, 2007, Geologic Map of the Maurice Quadrangle, South Dakota: South Dakota Geological Survey, Vermillion.