What Kind of Rock Is Devils Tower?

What Kind of Rock Is Devils Tower?
Devils Tower is made of an igneous rock called phonolite porphyryl. Phonolite porphyryl is produced when cooling magma creates a byproduct of solid rock. This rock is a fine-grained igneous rock that has large feldspar crystals. The name phonolite comes from a ringing sound that is made when the rock is tapped.

Size

Devils Tower in Wyoming is 1,267 feet high with columns that have four to seven sides.

Features

The most distinguishing features are the large columns that stretch across the tower and resemble corrugated metal. Rock climbers are often seen scaling these massive columns, attempting to gain the summit.

Theories/Speculation

Although geologists agree Devils Tower is phonolite porphyryl, they don't agree how the tower was formed. Some think the tower is an intrusion that was pushed up to form this giant column called a laccolith. Others believe Devils Tower is the core of an ancient volcano.

Misconceptions

Because of the columnar appearance of Devils Tower, people often mistake it for basalt because basalt cliffs are often composed of columns such as the ones on Devils Tower.

Fun Fact

In 1941, George Hopkins, a daredevil parachutist, landed on top of the tower and became stranded. Jack Durrance, one of the few climbers in the world who, at that time, was capable of ascending the tower, was commissioned to rescue him. Durrance had to travel by train form the East Coast to rescue Hopkins, who was stranded for six days.

Article Written By Rob Holzman

Based in the Pacific Northwest, Rob Holzman has been writing outdoor articles since 1997. He recently published the first comprehensive rock climbing guidebook for Pennsylvania and has fiction work published in the "Pacific Northwest Inlander". Holzman has also appeared on FOX television and has been an outdoor consultant for the Discovery Channel.

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