Hoff's Aliner Travels
A Travel Blog for US and Canadian Parks with Geological Notes

Wind Cave National Park
Below the remnant island of intact prairie sits Wind Cave, one of the longest (142 miles – sixth after Mammoth Cave in Kentucky, Sistema Sac Actun Cave in Mexico, Jewel Cave in South Dakota, Sistema Ox Bel Ha in Mexico and Optymistychna Cave in Ukraine) and most complex caves in the world. Named for barometric winds at its entrance, this maze of passages is home to boxwork, a unique formation rarely found elsewhere. This cave was carved by water but is now dry and mostly lacks drip features such as stalactites, stalagmites, flowstone, etc.

Mammoth Site of Hot Springs, SD
Around 26,000 years ago a sinkhole with clay sides proved to be a deadly trap. At least 61 mammoths (3 Wooly, the rest Columbian) have been found and they are still excavating. A sub adult short face bear was also found.

Crazy Horse Memorial
The memorial consists of the mountain carving (monument), the Indian Museum of North America, and the Native American Cultural Center. The monument is being carved out of Thunderhead Mountain on land considered sacred by some Oglala Lakota, between Custer and Hill City, roughly 17 miles from Mount Rushmore. The sculpture’s final dimensions are planned to be 641 feet wide and 563 feet high. The head of Crazy Horse will be 87 feet high; by comparison, the heads of the four U.S. Presidents at Mount Rushmore are each 60 feet high.

Some Native Americans think that it is a desecration of the Black Hills to have an image carved out of them. This would also apply to Mount Rushmore.


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