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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Shell in Big Horn County, Wyoming — The American West (Mountains)
 

Shaping a Canyon

 
 
Shaping a Canyon Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, July 24, 2015
1. Shaping a Canyon Marker
Inscription.
2.5 billion years of geologic history lie exposed in the canyon walls of Shell Creek. Gradual cutting action by Shell Creek eventually exposed the basement granite layer that lies above the earth’s molten core.

However, Shell Canyon itself formed during the past million years and is but a babe by geologic standards. Younger canyons are known by their V-shaped profile and narrow canyon walls.

The canyon first began when a fault split the granite bedrock. Water, following the path of least resistance, created a continuous downward cutting action exposing many distinct rock layers. Hike the trail for a close-up view of Madison Limestone and Bighorn Dolomite. Both formed under warm, shallow seas and are characterized by shell fossils.

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“Hot in the Basement”

Shell Creek has gradually cut through the mountain to expose the basement granite layer. “Basement” rock, also called bedrock, is a term used to describe the oldest layer lying closest to earth’s molten core.
 
Erected by Bighorn National Forest.
 
Location. 44° 35.208′ N, 107° 36.893′ W. Marker is in Shell, Wyoming, in Big Horn County. Marker can be reached from U.S. 14, on the right
Markers in Bighorn National Forest image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, July 24, 2015
2. Markers in Bighorn National Forest
Several markers can be found at this location. The Shaping a Canyon marker is the leftmost of those seen here.
when traveling west. Touch for map. Marker is located in the Shell Falls Interpretive Site in Bighorn National Forest. Marker is in this post office area: Shell WY 82441, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 2 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Forming Waterfalls (here, next to this marker); A 4,000 Mile Journey (here, next to this marker); Oasis in the Desert (a few steps from this marker); Lifeblood of the West (a few steps from this marker); Carving a Course (a few steps from this marker); Hummingbirds (a few steps from this marker); Moving Mountains (within shouting distance of this marker); Wildfire! (approx. 1.4 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Shell.
 
Categories. Natural Features
 
Shaping a Canyon Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, July 24, 2015
3. Shaping a Canyon Marker
Marker is in the group along the wall in the background.
Shell Falls image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, July 24, 2015
4. Shell Falls
This waterfall continues to carve the Shell Creek Canyon.
Shell Falls Interpretive Site image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, July 24, 2015
5. Shell Falls Interpretive Site
Marker is located in the Shell Falls Interpretive Site in Bighorn National Forest.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on September 4, 2015, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey. This page has been viewed 206 times since then and 54 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on September 4, 2015, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.
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