World of Rath

The Devils Tower has a legend of how it got its name, and how it was formed as told by the American Indian Tribes. Many ethnic groups from all over America consider the site of Devils Tower to be sacred. But the name “Devils Tower” was actually given by the white man based on a mispronunciation of the Indian word, describing it.   

The Tower throughout history has had many tribal names. The Lakota Indians called it  Mato Tipila, which means “Bear Lodge.” Other  American Indian tribes called it similar names. Bear Rock or Bear Mountain, and Grizzly Bear Lodge to list a few.

The bear theme comes from a common story about Devils Tower because of The Bear God who created the Devil’s Tower, which goes as follows:

Devils Tower

One day a hungry bear spotted seven sisters, as they were returning from the river where they had just bathed.  The great bear roared as he chased all seven women back to his cave, where he planned to eat them all in private. 

Right before the entrance of the cave was a giant stump of a tree that had been cut down long ago. All seven of the women jumped up on the stump, and prayed to the Bear God, to protect them. 

Suddenly that stump grew enormous and became the formation of what we know today as the “Devils Towers” which is on the North East corner of Wyoming, and afterwards the seven sisters were borne unto the sky and became the stars which now make up that part of the Constellation called the Big Dipper.

Iridium

Geologists differ in opinion on how the Devils Tower was actually formed. Some scientist speculate that the intrusion (or entry of molten rock into or between other rock formations) of igneous material may have been the cause. While other speculate on several other popular theories. 

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But what no one can agree on is why the element Iridium  was found near its foundation and in a nearby lake. You see pure Iridium does not occur in nature; its appearance on the Earth’s crust is very low, about 0.001 parts per million.

“Iridium is one of the densest and rarest of Earth’s natural elements. It is so dense that it mainly exists in the Earth’s core, rather than crust.”

In 1980 scientist Luis Alvarez and his son Water Alvarez found significant amounts of iridium in a certain part of the Earth’s crust, and spread out over the Earth’s surface. “They speculated that it was caused by a meteor and linked this to the extinction of the dinosaurs 66 million years earlier.”

But others speculate that the meteorite was actually an alien space craft made of the element Iridium, and that the element is not native to this planet. 

Other scientist dispute this saying that, although rare, the element was first discovered in 1803 in the acid-insoluble residues of platinum ores by the English chemist Smithson Tennant.

The name Iridium, is derived from the Greek word iris (“rainbow”), and refers to the various colors of its compounds. Natural iridium consists of a mixture of two stable isotopes, iridium-191 (37.3 percent) and iridium-193 (62.7 percent).

Iridium is the most corrosion-resistant element on the Periodic Table of Elements. It also has the highest density of all the elements. Because it resists corrosion, it was used in the last century to set standards in weights and measures. But because it is so dense and brittle, it was difficult to work with unless heated to extreme temperatures.

An example of this density, is that Iridium must be heated to 2,200 to 2,700 degrees Fahrenheit, a white heat. Today it is used primarily in communication satellites, and probes sent off into deep space. It is one of the few metal “from earth” that can withstand the extreme temperatures of space. Or the high temperatures used for the electrical contacts.

-Rath