• Sydney Australia - credit Jackie Appleton

Explore South Dakota’s Geologic Wonders…

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Credit Peter Ellis



Credit Peter Ellis


Today we have received the South Dakota Tourism Newsletter with the following about the Black Hills. The geological history of the Black Hills of South Dakota is very unique and has yielded some of America’s most prized treasures, all of which can be enjoyed during your next South Dakota visit.

The geography of the Black Hills is laid out like a target, as it is an oval dome, with rings of different rock types dipping away from the centre. The bull’s eye of this target consists of dense metamorphic granite. On top of the layers of metamorphic granite are thick layers of sandstone. This sandstone layer is known as the Deadwood Formation and was the source of much of the gold found in the 1800s.

In the northern reaches of the Black Hills lies Deadwood, a cosy mountain town with a wild history. In the late 1800s, Deadwood was the home of numerous gold miners, gunslingers and gamblers. Today, South Dakota visitors can stroll among the cobblestone streets once roamed by legends like Wild Bill Hickok and Calamity Jane. Remnants of Deadwood’s gold mining days can be found at the Broken Boot Gold Mine, an abandoned mine shaft that now offers educational tours. The Days of ‘76 Historic Museum in Deadwood showcases a number of relics from this time period, including a vast collection of Old West stagecoaches. Also located in Deadwood is the Homestake Adams Research and Cultural Centre (HARCC), a 10,000 cubic foot museum that provides a comprehensive 126-year history of the Homestake Mining Company. Visitors to the Deadwood area can also drive a short distance to Lead to view the old Homestake Mine. At the time of its closing in 2002, the Homestake Mine was the largest open-pit mine in the western hemisphere. Although gold mining in Homestake has ceased, the mine is now used as a scientific research facility and offers a visitor centre detailing the history of the mine.

Jewel Cave National Monument, located near Custer, is regarded as the second longest cave in the world, coming in second only to Mammoth Cave in Kentucky. Another nearby cave also holds high national prestige – Wind Cave National Park is the first cave to be designated a national park and features a unique calcite formation known as boxwork. Such high concentrations of this rare formation can only be found within Wind Cave. Rushmore Cave, located near Keystone, also offers tours full of geologic wonder as well as a number of fun family activities. In addition to the caves mentioned, there are a number of other Black Hills caves that offer a wide-range of tours.

Also, located in beautiful Custer State Park, just a quarter mile from Centre Lake, the Black Hills Playhouse a theatre and training centre that hosts a variety of theatre performances every summer. With a national reputation for excellence, the Playhouse consistently produces a season of high quality entertainment with something for everyone.

For more information or a list of performances by the Black Hills Playhouse for 2013 please contact us on 01323 446550 or e-mail info@experienceholidays.co.uk


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