In geomorphology, a butte is an isolated hill with steep vertical sides and a small flat top. The word "butte" comes from a French word meaning "small hill"; because of their distinctive shapes, buttes are landmarks in plains and mountainous areas. In differentiating mesas and buttes, geographers use the rule of thumb that a mesa has a top, wider than its height, while a butte has a top, narrower than its height; the Mitten Buttes of Monument Valley in Arizona are two of the most distinctive and recognized buttes. Monument Valley and the Mittens provided backgrounds in scenes from many western-themed films, including seven movies directed by John Ford; the Devils Tower in northeastern Wyoming is a laccolithic butte composed of igneous rock rather than sandstone, limestone or other sedimentary rocks. Three other notable formations that are either named butte or may be considered buttes though they do not conform to the formal geographer's rule are Scotts Bluff in Nebraska, a collection of five bluffs, Crested Butte, a 12,168 ft mountain in Colorado, Elephant Butte, now an island in Elephant Butte Reservoir in New Mexico.
Among the well-known non-flat-topped buttes in the United States are Bear Butte, South Dakota, Black Butte and the Sutter Buttes in California. In many cases, buttes have been given other names that do not use the word butte, for example, Courthouse Rock, Nebraska; some large hills that are technically not buttes have names using the word butte, examples of which are Kamiak Butte and Chelan Butte in Washington state. Buttes form by weathering and erosion when hard caprock overlies a layer of less resistant rock, worn away; the harder rock on top of the butte resists erosion. The caprock provides protection for the less resistant rock below from wind abrasion which leaves it standing isolated; as the top is further eroded by abrasion and weathering, the excess material that falls off adds to the scree or talus slope around the base. On a much smaller scale, the same process forms hoodoos. Media related to Buttes at Wikimedia Commons The dictionary definition of butte at Wiktionary "Butte". Collier's New Encyclopedia.
1921. "Butte". New International Encyclopedia. 1905
White River (Missouri River tributary)
The White River is a Missouri River tributary that flows 580 miles through the U. S. states of South Dakota. The name stems from the water's white-gray color, a function of eroded sand and volcanic ash carried by the river from its source near the Badlands. Draining a basin of about 10,200 square miles, about 8,500 square miles of, in South Dakota, the stream flows through a region of sparsely populated hills and badlands; the White River rises in northwestern Nebraska, in the Pine Ridge escarpment north of Harrison, at an elevation of 4,861 feet above sea level. It flows southeast northeast past Fort Robinson and north of Crawford, it crosses into southwestern South Dakota and flows north across the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation northeast, receiving Wounded Knee Creek and flowing between units of Badlands National Park. It flows east-northeast and southeast at the northern edge of the reservation, forming the northern boundary of the reservation and the southern boundary of Buffalo Gap National Grassland.
It receives the Little White River about 15 miles south of Murdo, flows east to join the Missouri in Lake Francis Case about 15 miles southwest of Chamberlain. The river sometimes has no surface flow due to the dry climate surrounding its badlands and prairie basin, though thunderstorms can cause brief intense flow; the river near Chamberlain flows year-round. The White River has good-quality water. White River Fauna List of rivers of Nebraska List of rivers of South Dakota Benke, Arthur C. ed. and Cushing, Colbert E. ed.. "Chapter 10: Missouri River Basin" in Rivers of North America. Burlington, Massachusetts: Elsevier Academic Press. ISBN 0-12-088253-1
The Sandhills written Sand Hills, is a region of mixed-grass prairie on grass-stabilized sand dunes in north-central Nebraska, covering just over one quarter of the state. The dunes were designated a National Natural Landmark in 1984; the boundaries of the Sandhills are variously defined by different organizations. Depending on the definition, the region's area can be as small as 19,600 mi2 or as large as 23,600 mi2. Dunes in the Sandhills may exceed 330 ft in height; the average elevation of the region increases from about 1,800 ft in the east to about 3,600 ft in the west. The Sandhills sit atop the massive Ogallala Aquifer; the eastern and central sections of the region are drained by tributaries of the Loup River and the Niobrara River, while the western section is composed of small interior drainage basins. The World Wide Fund for Nature designated the Sandhills as an ecoregion, distinct from other grasslands of the Great Plains. According to their assessment, as much as 85% of the ecoregion is intact natural habitat, the highest level in the Great Plains.
This is chiefly due to the lack of crop production: most of the Sandhills land has never been plowed. Paleoclimate proxy data and computer simulations reveal that the Nebraska Sandhills had active sand dunes as as the Medieval Warm Period, when temperatures in the North Atlantic region were about 1 °C warmer than the current climate. Much of the area was a scrub desert, with desert-like conditions extending to several other states. Current global warming may make the grassland climate more unstable, giving way to desert given more fires, mild drought and erosion; the plant-anchored dunes of the Sandhills were long considered an irreclaimable desert. In the 1870s, cattlemen began to discover their potential as rangeland for Longhorn cattle; the fragility of the sandy soil makes the area unsuitable for cultivation of crops. Attempts at farming were made in the region in the late 1870s and again around 1890; the 1904 Kinkaid Act allowed homesteaders to claim 640 acres of land, rather than the 160 acres allowed by the 1862 Homestead Act.
Nearly nine million acres were claimed by "Kinkaiders" between 1910 and 1917. Some of the Kinkaiders farmed the land, but these attempts failed; this included Nebraska's largest black settlement, DeWitty, located in southeast Cherry County until the 1930s. Many of the largest ranches broke up about the same time due to regulations against fencing federal range lands; some development of cropland agriculture in the modern era has occurred through the use of center-pivot irrigation systems. In the 21st century, the Sandhills are a productive cattle ranching area, supporting over 530,000 beef cattle; the population of the region continues to decline as older generations die out and as younger generations move to the cities. A number of small towns remain in the region; the Sandhills, the largest and most intricate wetland ecosystem in the United States, contain a large array of plant and animal life. Minimal crop production has led to limited land fragmentation; the Sandhills are home to 314 vertebrate species including mule deer, white-tail deer, red fox, wild turkeys, skunks, native bat species, many fish species.
The Sandhills' thousands of ponds and lakes replenish the Ogallala Aquifer, which feeds creeks and rivers such as the Niobrara and Loup rivers. These bodies of water are homes for many species of fish; the lakes are sandy-bottomed and provide water for the region's cattle, as well as a habitat for aquatic species. Some lakes in the area support several species of phyllopod shrimp. 720 different species of plants are found in the Sandhills. Most are native, with only 7% exotics — half the percentage of most other prairie systems; the blowout penstemon is an endangered species, found only in the Sandhills and in similar environments in central Wyoming. The blowout penstemon stabilizes the soil where wind erosion exposes the bare sand and creates a blowout, but is choked out when other species begin to recolonize. Grazing and land management practices used by Sandhills ranchers have reduced natural erosion, thus destroying some of the plant's habitat. Many of the plants of the Sandhills are sand-tolerant species from short-grass, mixed-grass, tallgrass prairies.
These plants have helped to stabilize the sand dunes, creating an ecosystem beneficial for other plants and animals. Better land management and grazing practices by the ranchers of the region have led to less erosion over time, which has kept the natural landscape of the area intact. Many species of insect are found in the Sandhills, including dragonflies and mosquitos. There are many types of spiders. Due to the ephemeral nature of both alkaline and freshwater lakes throughout the region, coupled with the wetland marsh areas, mosquito populations increase during the summer months; the Sandhills are part of the Central Flyway for many species of migratory birds, the region's many bodies of water give them places to rest. The ponds and lakes of the region are lay-over points for migratory cranes and many species of ducks. Species found year-round include the western meadowl
South Dakota is a U. S. state in the Midwestern region of the United States. It is named after the Lakota and Dakota Sioux Native American tribes, who compose a large portion of the population and dominated the territory. South Dakota is the seventeenth largest by area, but the fifth smallest by population and the 5th least densely populated of the 50 United States; as the southern part of the former Dakota Territory, South Dakota became a state on November 2, 1889 with North Dakota. Pierre is the state capital and Sioux Falls, with a population of about 187,200, is South Dakota's largest city. South Dakota is bordered by the states of North Dakota, Iowa, Nebraska and Montana; the state is bisected by the Missouri River, dividing South Dakota into two geographically and distinct halves, known to residents as "East River" and "West River". Eastern South Dakota is home to most of the state's population, the area's fertile soil is used to grow a variety of crops. West of the Missouri, ranching is the predominant agricultural activity, the economy is more dependent on tourism and defense spending.
Most of the Native American reservations are in West River. The Black Hills, a group of low pine-covered mountains sacred to the Sioux, are in the southwest part of the state. Mount Rushmore, a major tourist destination, is there. South Dakota has a temperate continental climate, with four distinct seasons and precipitation ranging from moderate in the east to semi-arid in the west; the state's ecology features species typical of a North American grassland biome. Humans have inhabited the area for several millennia, with the Sioux becoming dominant by the early 19th century. In the late 19th century, European-American settlement intensified after a gold rush in the Black Hills and the construction of railroads from the east. Encroaching miners and settlers triggered a number of Indian wars, ending with the Wounded Knee Massacre in 1890. Key events in the 20th century included the Dust Bowl and Great Depression, increased federal spending during the 1940s and 1950s for agriculture and defense, an industrialization of agriculture that has reduced family farming.
While several Democratic senators have represented South Dakota for multiple terms at the federal level, the state government is controlled by the Republican Party, whose nominees have carried South Dakota in each of the last 13 presidential elections. Dominated by an agricultural economy and a rural lifestyle, South Dakota has sought to diversify its economy in areas to attract and retain residents. South Dakota's history and rural character still influence the state's culture. South Dakota is in the north-central United States, is considered a part of the Midwest by the U. S. Census Bureau; the culture and geography of western South Dakota have more in common with the West than the Midwest. South Dakota has a total area of 77,116 square miles, making the state the 17th largest in the Union. Black Elk Peak named Harney Peak, with an elevation of 7,242 ft, is the state's highest point, while the shoreline of Big Stone Lake is the lowest, with an elevation of 966 ft. South Dakota is bordered to the north by North Dakota.
The geographical center of the U. S. is 17 miles west of Castle Rock in Butte County. The North American continental pole of inaccessibility is between Allen and Kyle, 1,024 mi from the nearest coastline; the Missouri River is the longest river in the state. Other major South Dakota rivers include the Cheyenne, Big Sioux, White Rivers. Eastern South Dakota has many natural lakes created by periods of glaciation. Additionally, dams on the Missouri River create four large reservoirs: Lake Oahe, Lake Sharpe, Lake Francis Case, Lewis and Clark Lake. South Dakota can be divided into three regions: eastern South Dakota, western South Dakota, the Black Hills; the Missouri River serves as a boundary in terms of geographic and political differences between eastern and western South Dakota. The geography of the Black Hills, long considered sacred by Native Americans, differs from its surroundings to such an extent it can be considered separate from the rest of western South Dakota. At times the Black Hills are combined with the rest of western South Dakota, people refer to the resulting two regions divided by the Missouri River as West River and East River.
Eastern South Dakota features higher precipitation and lower topography than the western part of the state. Smaller geographic regions of this area include the Coteau des Prairies, the Dissected Till Plains, the James River Valley; the Coteau des Prairies is a plateau bordered on the east by the Minnesota River Valley and on the west by the James River Basin. Further west, the James River Basin is low, flat eroded land, following the flow of the James River through South Dakota from north to south; the Dissected Till Plains, an area of rolling hills and fertile soil that covers much of Iowa and Nebraska, extends into the southeastern corner of South Dakota. Layers deposited during the Pleistocene epoch, starting around two million years ago, cover most of eastern South Dakota; these are the youngest rock and sediment layers in the state, the product of several successive periods of glaciation which deposited a large amount of rocks and soil, known as till, over the area. The Great Plains cover most of the western two-thirds of South Dakota.
West of the Missouri Rive
Toadstool Geologic Park
Toadstool Geologic Park is located in the Oglala National Grassland in far northwestern Nebraska. It is operated by the United States Forest Service, it contains a reconstructed sod house. The park is named after its unusual rock formations. Toadstool Geologic Park is said to be the "badlands of Nebraska" or the "desert of the Pine Ridge." The park is open 24 hours a day. Toadstool Park is north of Nebraska. There is a 1-mile loop trail within the park. There are many fossils along the trail. Many fossils of large prehistoric animals such as entelodonts and hyaenodons have been found here. Camping is available and there are two toilets; the Bison Trail to Hudson-Meng Bison Kill is a 3-mile hike. Fort Robinson Hudson-Meng Bison Kill Nebraska National Forest Chadron State Park Trailside Museum of Natural History at Fort Robinson State Park Media related to Toadstool Geologic Park at Wikimedia Commons Toadstool Geological Park and Campground - US Forest Service Toadstool Geologic Park Photo & Links - Chadron State College Toadstool Geologic Park Hiking Trail Photos & Info
Hudson-Meng Bison Kill
The Hudson-Meng Bison Kill site named the Hudson-Meng Education and Research Center, is a fossil site located in the Oglala National Grassland of western Nebraska 20 miles northwest of Crawford. It contains the 10,000-year-old remains of up to 600 bison. Open seasonally, the site features a visitor center with interpretive exhibits and views of the bones. Guided tours are available; the Bison Trail to Toadstool Geologic Park is a 3-mile hike. Bill Hudson and Albert Meng were local ranchers who are credited with discovering the bonebed in 1954 while digging for a pond. Excavated by Dr. Larry Agenbroad in the 1970s, the dig was over 400 square meters and was considered the largest Alberta Culture bison kill site discovered; the bison found are not the same species as the bison that live in the United States, but are an animal transitional in evolution between the extinct Bison antiquus and the modern species. In the 1990s, the site underwent another series of smaller excavations by Drs. Larry Todd of Colorado State University and David Rapson of the University of Wyoming, who suggested that the bison died of unknown natural causes and that the site was not in fact a kill site.
In 2005, PaleoCultural Research Group and the University of Colorado undertook excavations at the site. In 2006, the USFS made Dr. Mark Muñiz of St. Cloud State University the principal investigator for archeological research; the research since 2006 has uncovered an Eden component at the site in addition to the Alberta component. The site was managed for two years by the Mammoth Site of Hot Springs under the supervision of the United States Forest Service; as of 2009, the site is managed by the US Forest Service out of Chadron, Nebraska. Hudson-Meng Education & Research Center - US Forest Service Colorado State University 2002 Field Seminar about the Hudson-Meng Bison Kill Summary of Recent Fieldwork at the Hudson-Meng Site - by L. C. Todd and D. J. Rapson, 1991–1998
The Niobrara River is a tributary of the Missouri River 568 miles long, running through the U. S. states of Nebraska. The river drains one of the most arid sections of the Great Plains, has a low flow for a river of its length; the Niobrara's watershed includes the northern tier of Nebraska Sandhills, a small south-central section of South Dakota, as well as a small area of eastern Wyoming. The river rises in southern Niobrara County; the Niobrara flows east as an intermittent stream past Lusk and southeast into northwestern Nebraska. It flows southeast across the Pine Ridge country of Sioux County east through Agate Fossil Beds National Monument, past Marsland, through Box Butte Reservoir; the stream flows east across northern Nebraska, near the northern edge of the Sandhills and past Valentine. It is joined by the Snake River about 13 miles southwest of Valentine. In north-central Nebraska it is joined by the Keya Paha River 6 miles west of Butte; the river joins the Missouri northwest of Niobrara in northern Knox County, just upstream of Lewis and Clark Lake.
Its total drainage basin is about 11,580 square miles. Although the annual runoff is low relative to the size of its drainage basin, the Niobrara has a stronger and more consistent flow than many other streams in the region. An estimated 70 percent of the river's water results from seepage from the Ogallala Aquifer that underlies the area, with the remaining 30 percent from precipitation; the river is lowest in early fall. Low flows in late summer and fall are the result of large irrigation diversions; the Niobrara's average discharge between 1958 and 2013, measured at the U. S. Geological Survey stream gage at Verdel, Nebraska, 14.8 miles above the mouth, is 1,757 cubic feet per second. The highest flow recorded was 39,100 cubic feet per second on March 27, 1960; the lowest daily mean was 102 cubic feet per second on November 13, 1960. The lower Niobrara valley is the traditional home of the Ponca tribe of Native Americans. Between 1861 and 1882, the stretch of the Niobrara River from the mouth of the Keya Paha to its confluence with the Missouri marked the boundary between Nebraska and the Dakota Territory.
A 76-mile stretch of the Niobrara River in central Nebraska, from the town of Valentine east to Nebraska State Highway 137, has been designated as the Niobrara National Scenic River since 1991. It is managed by the Department of the Interior to protect the water quality, paleontologic, fish & wildlife and recreation values. Most of the lands within the boundary of the National Scenic River are, will remain, in private ownership. Management is based upon working with private, county and federal landowners and stakeholders to coordinate protection of the river while ensuring a quality experience for river visitors; the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service manages the 9 miles of river that flow through the Fort Niobrara Refuge for wilderness and wildlife habitat, but allows recreation downstream from Cornell Dam; the National Park Service manages the remaining 67 miles, acting as a facilitator for resource protection by landowners and river users, providing law enforcement and visitor education services, coordinating resource management activities.
The Box Butte Dam, completed in 1946 by the U. S. Bureau of Reclamation, is the only major dam on the Niobrara River proper. Located in Dawes County in western Nebraska, the dam is part of the Mirage Flats Project, which irrigates 11,670 acres on the north side of the Niobrara River. Dunlap Diversion Dam, 8 miles below Box Butte, diverts water through a 13-mile canal to the farmland; the Snake River tributary is impounded by the Merritt Dam and irrigates about 34,540 acres in the area of Valentine, Nebraska. The project is part of the Ainsworth Unit of the Pick-Sloan Missouri Basin Program operated by the USBR. Cornell Dam, built in 1915 at the confluence of Minnechaduza Creek near Valentine, generated power until 1985; the following year the dam was acquired by the U. S. Department of the Interior. Although decommissioned, the dam remains standing; the feasibility of removing the defunct dam has been studied, although the accumulation of sediment behind the dam, which may include high levels of chemicals from pesticides, may be harmful to the river environment if released.
Spencer Dam, about 50 miles from the mouth of the Niobrara, was the last operational hydroelectric plant on the river. The dam was operated by the Nebraska Public Power District, it includes two Westinghouse generators, with a combined capacity of 3,000 KW. In a 2015 agreement with Nebraska local and state government entities, NPPD agreed to decommission the dam in 2017; the dam was breached by flooding caused by a March 2019 storm. In the Cheyenne language, the river is Hisse Yovi Yoe, meaning "surprise river". Niobrara National Scenic River Niobrara State Park, located at the confluence of the Niobrara and Missouri Rivers Smith Falls Fort Niobrara, a U. S. Army outpost Fort Niobrara National Wildlife Refuge Samuel R. McKelvie National Forest Box Butte Reservoir Agate Fossil Beds National Monument List of longest rivers of the United States List of rivers of the United States List of Nebraska rivers List of Wyoming rivers Niobrara Na