the Devil is in the Details

October 3, 2011

UM, AMAZING! Is this not unbelievable? How is it that I grew up in and lived in California for 38 years and I had never heard of the Devil’s Postpile?!?  Would you believe that it is a natural occurring formation of many tall columns of basalt?  The Devils Post Pile presents a textbook example of the volcanism that helped to form the Mammoth Lakes region of the Sierra Nevada mountain range but looks more like an Andy Goldsworthy installation.

The molten basalt flowed southward and poured into the Middle Fork of the San Joaquin River valley, filling it to a depth of more than 400 feet. As the lava cooled and solidified, it shrank, creating cracks radiating from the center, approximately two feet apart. Eventually, the cracks joined, also growing downward. A large glacier quarried away most of the columns, leaving remnants on both sides of the valley, of which Devil’s Postpile is the largest. The tremendously heavy mass of ice created a highly polished basalt, some of which is still visible, though much of it has weathered away during the thousands of years since.  Today frost-wedging and ice continue to cause the giant posts to fracture and fall.

High design in nature, gotta love it… The Devil’s Postpile is nature at its best!  And, it’s important site for California visitors to experience. It offers some insight into the fascinating geologic history of the area it’s found in.  Information regarding tours and hikes is available at the Mammoth Lakes Visitors’ Center, located on Highway 203 …if you’re headed that way any time soon.

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One Response to “the Devil is in the Details”

  1. growtheflow Says:

    From vernacular context-harmonious architecture to modernist square-peg architect-statement


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