The formation rises an incredible 1,267 ft (386 m) above the terrain surrounding it. Also, the summit sits at an altitude of roughly 5,114 ft (1,559 m) above sea level.
President Theodore Roosevelt declared Devils Tower a United States National Monument in 1906. The monument receives about 400,000 visitors annually. Though a dangerous ascent, the site remains popular with climbers.
Devils Tower Geological Formation
The region surrounding Devils Tower principally contains sedimentary rocks. The protrusion dates to between 195-225 million years of age.
The exact origins of Devils Tower remain uncertain, yet the protrusion itself formed from the igneous rock. One theory postulates that the lava which formed it pushed its way to the surface, and subsequent erosion wore away the surrounding terrain.
Another theory supposes that the formation represents all that remains of an ancient volcanic explosion. The surrounding area remains littered with countless fragments and boulders of the same material.
Geologists believe that Devils Tower once had a much greater size than it does today. The surrounding objects indicate the possibility of fracturing, due to erosion.
Devils Tower Recent History and Climbing
The first known sighting of Devils Tower by a non-Native American occurred in 1859. The name of the site itself originated during a scientific survey in 1875.
Our first recorded scaling of the site occurred in 1893, and since that time, the location gradually became one of the most popular climbs in the country.
However, several Native American tribes also consider the site sacred, and object to its being climbed, regardless of its location on government property. Eventually, the local tribe reached a comprise to solve the dilemma.
During the month of June, while numerous religious ceremonies are being observed, climbers are requested to voluntarily abstain from climbing activities. Authorities estimate that roughly 85% of climbers honor the voluntary ban.