Speak of the Devil
Steven Dutch, Professor Emeritus, Natural and Applied Sciences,
University of Wisconsin - Green Bay
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 full regalia.
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
10 June 2020