Exploring an Igneous Dome in North-Central Montana – Huge Sky Walker

Exploring an Igneous Dome in North-Central Montana – Huge Sky Walker

Exploring an Igneous Dome in North-Central Montana – Huge Sky Walker

Into the bull’s eye.
Though I’m not a geologist, I take pleasure in studying as a lot as I can concerning the geologic setting of north-central Montana the place I train. I wish to discover the panorama to get a first-hand look, then use images, maps, and different photographs to assist college students perceive why the land appears to be like the way in which it does. Google Earth has been an incredible device, giving my college students and I a fowl’s eye view of landforms round us. A number of years in the past, whereas trying round on Google Earth, I observed an odd round function on BLM land 10 miles south of Hays. The satellite tv for pc view confirmed a definite collection of concentric circles, resembling a giant goal a number of miles throughout. Apparently, the goal form of the landform will not be noticeable from the bottom – solely from above. Some research helped me perceive the way it was fashioned, nevertheless it wasn’t till not too long ago that I ventured down there a pair instances to discover it.

Received domes?
The unusual function is an “igneous dome”, attributable to magma forcing layers of sedimentary rock upward tens of thousands and thousands of years in the past. The magma by no means made it to the floor, as a substitute hardening under the layers. Within the thousands and thousands of years that adopted the dome has eroded, leaving the concentric round ridges of rock. Don’t get it? – The diagrams and maps within the photograph tour ought to assist. Because it seems, there are a number of domes within the space, all created by plumes of historical magma that pushed layers of rock upward – each is exclusive. The truth is the Little Rocky Mountains north of the remoted domes have been fashioned by magma that intruded there across the time the dinosaurs went extinct (65 mya). For extra about that, see my weblog put up titled “Wall Stroll within the Little Rockies”.

First strive.
My buddy Rick accompanied me on the primary hike into the dome on August twenty fifth. I didn’t plan an excellent route and we didn’t carry sufficient water, so we didn’t get to discover a lot of the dome. I additionally underestimated how troublesome it could be to hike up and down these concentric ridges. Fortuitously, our stroll again took us under the spectacular sandstone cliffs on the southern fringe of the dome. We took a pleasant break there whereas I took some drone images and considered a greater route for my subsequent journey.

Take Two.
Though Rick wasn’t accessible for a second journey on September fifteenth, I used to be higher ready – I deliberate a extra smart route, ate my Wheaties, acquired an earlier begin, and carried loads of water. This time I walked alongside Bull Creek a lot of the way in which, veering off to do a clockwise loop close to the north finish of BLM land after which once more to discover the cliffs on the south finish earlier than exiting the dome. Bull Creek meanders north to south proper by means of the middle of the dome. Mountain climbing alongside the dry creek mattress was simple however I felt like I used to be lacking out on views, plus there was some mud and some cows. On the way in which again I scrambled up a ridge to a pleasant grassy bench, after which walked over to discover the sandstone cliffs, by far one of the best a part of my day. The hike, which ended up being 12.3 miles, took 8 hours, primarily as a result of I spent a lot time exploring these beautiful cliffs.

FYI – I not too long ago began an Instagram account. I’ll attempt to put up one thing fascinating no less than as soon as every week. Test it out: rodbenson406

Under: This map marks hikes which have been featured on bigskywalker.com thus far, together with a number of in Glacier Park – Choose full display to develop, zoom in for extra element, or click on on a marker for a hyperlink to the put up.