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chateaugrief's avatar

Rainbow Falls



This is Rainbow Falls in Devil’s Postpile National Monument.  It’s a 101 foot tall waterfall, I don’t think I’ve quite accurately captured the huge scale.  The postpile itself is a cliff of hexagonal basalt.  I’m not convinced of the explanation on the park service’s website… that the hexagons are merely a random cellular network of cracks that formed while cooling, as when I see six sided rocks I think crystalline, probably related to quartz…  basalt is mostly glass which lacks a crystalline structure.  However the addition of iron oxides to the glass produces hematite(looks like six sided obsidian), which is a member of the hexagonal crystal family.  You can see the iron rusting through the rocks in Devil’s Postpile turning the edges orange brown.  I think the columns are more a result of crystal formation under heat and pressure with the fracture lines along the regular cleavage planes where the bonds are weakest. Anyways.  

Once upon a time, a very long time ago, the Devil looked over at the Garden of Eden (centered roughly right about where my house is in California, fyi) and saw all the plants shooting out flowers and pollen and animals running around messing stuff up and he got the brilliant idea that he was going to build a fence around it.  Look at what those grizzly bears are doing in the woods of Yosemite, he thinks, not going to let that happen to my beautiful sulfur-bearing volcanic field in Yellowstone.  So he gets together a huge stack of posts for his fence, and some rolls of wire, and a couple of boxes of fence staples and sticks his trusty fencing pliers in his belt and he carries everything up to the backside of the Sierras, figuring this was a great place to start work.  But the Angel who was guarding the Garden stopped by, just as the Devil was standing there eating the sandwich he’d packed for lunch, and staring at the terrain, wondering if he could just pound the posts into the ground or whether he had better put them in concrete.  

“Whatcha doin’?” says the Angel.

“Building a fence around this bear-infested menace,” says the Devil.

“Yeah, you’re not.” says the Angel.

And with that, the Angel sets a curse on the Devil so’s that he can’t touch anything made of iron.  The Devil drops his fencing pliers like a hotcake.  

“That may be so, but my posts are solid stone,” he says, “I’ll pound them in anyways and build my fence somehow!”

So the Angel laces the posts with iron, and the Devil was foiled and he had to leave them all stacked neatly in a pile in the forest.  So he goes back to Yellowstone in a huff, but in his rage, he forgets to wrap up his sandwich, and the crumbs drop out of his belt as he walks.  The Angel lets him get out of sight, then he calls over a pair of grizzly bears and sets them on the scent of all that bologna and mustard and cheese.  And wouldn’t you know the bears were so excited that they all left Yosemite and followed the Devil’s crumb trail straight back to Yellowstone.  And that’s basically the situation as it stands today.

Now you know the story of the Devil’s Postpile. 

Excerpted from the unholy grimoire of Diaboloniana P. Beelzebubba Esq., Prime Minister of Eynhallow, who is currently giving a certain someone a killer headache.

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greenyadzer's avatar

Very beautiful. Magnificent and sacred in the same time.