The Elements of Geology eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 384 pages of information about The Elements of Geology.

Crandall volcano.  This name is given to a dissected ancient volcano in the Yellowstone National Park, which once, it is estimated, reared its head thousands of feet above the surrounding country and greatly exceeded in bulk either Mount Shasta or Mount Etna.  Not a line of the original mountain remains; all has been swept away by erosion except some four thousand feet of the base of the pile.  This basal wreck now appears as a rugged region about thirty miles in diameter, trenched by deep valleys and cut into sharp peaks and precipitous ridges.  In the center of the area is found the nucleus (N, Fig. 237),—­a mass of coarsely crystalline rock that congealed deep in the old volcanic pipe.  From it there radiate in all directions, like the spokes of a wheel, long dikes whose rock grows rapidly finer of grain as it leaves the vicinity of the once heated core.  The remainder of the base of the ancient mountain is made of rudely bedded tuffs and volcanic breccia, with occasional flows of lava, some of the fragments of the breccia measuring as much as twenty feet in diameter.  On the sides of canyons the breccia is carved by rain erosion to fantastic pinnacles.  At different levels in the midst of these beds of tuff and lava are many old forest grounds.  The stumps and trunks of the trees, now turned to stone, still in many cases stand upright where once they grew on the slopes of the mountain as it was building (Fig. 238).  The great size and age of some of these trees indicate, the lapse of time between the eruption whose lavas or tuffs weathered to the soil on which they grew and the subsequent eruption which buried them beneath showers of stones and ashes.

Near the edge of the area lies Death Gulch, in which carbon dioxide is given off in such quantities that in quiet weather it accumulates in a heavy layer along the ground and suffocates the animals which may enter it.



It is because long-continued erosion lays bare the innermost anatomy of an extinct volcano, and even sweeps away the entire pile with much of the underlying strata, thus leaving the very roots of the volcano open to view, that we are able to study underground volcanic structures.  With these we include, for convenience, intrusions of molten rock which have been driven upward into the crust, but which may not have succeeded in breaking way to the surface and establishing a volcano.  All these structures are built of rock forced when in a fluid or pasty state into some cavity which it has found or made, and we may classify them therefore, according to the shape of the molds in which the molten rock has congealed, as (1) dikes, (2) volcanic necks, (3) intrusive sheets, and (4) intrusive masses.

Project Gutenberg
The Elements of Geology from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
Follow Us on Facebook