FACT CHECK: Did Scientists Discover Devils Tower Was Originally A Giant Tree?
A viral Facebook post shared over 1,500 times claims scientists discovered that the Devils Tower rock formation in Wyoming was originally a giant tree.
Devils Tower is made up of igneous rock. The claim appears to have originated on a satirical Facebook page.
The post claims that scientists discovered Devils Tower was originally a giant tree after “conducting photographic seismic readings” that allegedly revealed an “incredibly large petrified root system” underneath the butte. It further alleges that the Wyoming State Parks Department put out a statement announcing the supposed discovery.
Devils Tower, a natural formation located in Wyoming, was declared the U.S.’s first national monument in 1906, according to the National Park Service (NPS). The NPS states on its website that Devils Tower receives roughly 500,000 visitors a year.
“We have discovered, what looks like a giant root system stemming from the base of The Devils Tower,” reads the purported statement from the Wyoming State Parks Department. “The root system has been measured at 4 miles deep by 7 miles wide.”
But Check Your Fact found no credible media reports about such a discovery. The alleged statement does not appear on the Wyoming State Parks, Historic Sites and Trails’ website or its social media posts. (RELATED: Were These Trees Cut Down To ‘Make Way For 5G’?)
While geologists do not know the exact process that took place, they agree that Devils Tower originated from magma beneath the Earth’s surface, according to the NPS. The butte is made up of igneous rock called phonolite porphyry, per National Geographic.
The claim seems to stem from a satirical 2017 post on the Facebook page Casper Planet. The Facebook page’s “About” section states, “Delivering the Snews that doesn’t matter directly to your Snews feed. Satire, humor, and opinion, names/locations are made up.”