Devils Postpile National Monument

Devils Postpile National Monument located near Mammoth Mountain in eastern California. The Devils Postpile (the name refers to a dark cliff of columnar basalt) is a strange rock formation of columnar basalt, encompasses 798 acres. The area includes two main tourist attractions:
  • Devils Postpile formation
  • Rainbow Falls – A stunning waterfall in the Middle Fork of the San Joaquin River
Furthermore, the John Muir Trail and Pacific Crest Trail merge into one trail and pass through the National Monument lies within the borders of the Ansel Adams Wilderness in the Sierra Nevada of California, USA. The Ansel Adams wilderness spans in an elevation from 3,500 to 13,157 feet, forming the northern end of the High Sierra.

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Devils Postpile in Early 19th Century

The monument was once the part of Yosemite National Park California. However, the Devil Postile National Monument was created in 1911 and is widely and officially referred to as plural without the apostrophe since the 1930s. Moreover, when the gold was discovered near mammoth Lakes actually left the Postpile monument a public land, and later on, built a hydroelectric dam blasting the Postpile into the river.
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John Muir, the president of Taft who was an influential Californian, persuaded the federal government to stop the demolition. There his voice was listening carefully, and President William Howard declared the area as a National Monument in 1911.

Animals, Birds, Flora and Fauna

The Devils Postpile area contains different animal species, i.e., pine martens, black bears, coyotes, mule deer, black cottonwood, quaking aspen, willows, and alder. There are numerous types of wildflowers such as alpine shooting star and cinquefoil are commonly seen. In the summer season, the white-crowned sparrows and Dark-eyed juncos are common.
An average Postpile columns is two feet in diameter, however few are more than thick to around 3.5 feet and 60 feet long.
An average Postpile column is two feet in diameter, however, few are more than thick to around 3.5 feet and 60 feet long. Photo Credit – Wikipedia

Devils Postpile

Geologists believe, the area was come into being by a lave flow somewhere 100,000 years ago. Devils Postpile formational thickness estimated between 400 feet to 600 feet. Due to large thickness, the much of mass pooled lave cooled sluggishly and columns are shaped into long and so symmetrical.
The columnar jotted in a certain shape due to types of lava contracts in the cooling process. After that, a glacier removed the mass of rock and polished the surface on top of the columns with visible glacial striations and glacial polish. An average Postpile column is two feet in diameter, however, few are more than thick to around 3.5 feet and 60 feet long.
Simultaneously they look like tall posts stacked in a pile. If the lava flow had cooled in a perfect way, then the columns would have been hexagonal. But, many columns have varied polygonal cross-sections due to variations in cooling. Moreover, another feature that the Devils Postpile in a special category is the lack of horizontal jointing.
Geologists believe, the area was come into being by a lave flow somewhere 100,000 years ago. Devils Postpile formational thickness estimated between 400 feet to 600 feet.
Geologists believe, the area was come into being by a lave flow somewhere 100,000 years ago. Devils Postpile formational thickness estimated between 400 feet to 600 feet. Photo Credit – Mike Baird @ Flickr

Similar Structure

Hence, the basaltic columns are not unique, but indeed are impressive. Basalt columns are a common volcanic feature and occur on several scales. The most popular similar structure is Giant’s Causeway in Ireland, Svartifoss in Vatnajökull National Park in Iceland, Fingal’s Cave in Scotland, Titan’s Piazza in Armenia, Prismas Basálticos in Huasca de Ocampo, Mexico, Sheepeater Cliff at Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming, “Organ Pipes” in New Zealand, Gilbert Hill in Mumbai, India, Oran Pipes National Park in Australia, and “Column Cape” in Chile. These days the Devils Postpile offers an active hiking and camping locations and wonderful view including that of the 100 feet Rainbow Falls.
the basaltic columns are not unique, but indeed are impressive. Basalt columns are a common volcanic feature and occur on several scales.
the basaltic columns are not unique, but indeed are impressive. Basalt columns are a common volcanic feature and occur on several scales. Photo Credit – Joyce @ Flickr

Know before you go

During all winter, the Devils Postpile National Monument is closed and reopens in the summer. The Devils Postpile is an amazing place but worth the hike to the top. However, the hike to Rainbow Falls is a bit moderate. Also, it’s a great hike from Devil’s Postpile to Minaret Falls, easy walk but beautiful.
The Devils Postpile is an amazing place but worth the hike to the top.
The Devils Postpile is an amazing place but worth the hike to the top. Photo Credit – Curtis Barnard Jr
Read More – The Mysterious Stones of Pokaini Forest
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