Missouri Buttes

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Missouri Buttes

Grabill - Little Missouri Butte.jpg

Little Missouri Butte, The tallest of the buttes, as seen in 1890
Highest point
Elevation 5,374 ft (1,638 m) [1]
Prominence 1,204 ft (367 m) [1]
Coordinates 44°36′57″N104°46′29″W / 44.61583°N 104.77472°W / 44.61583; -104.77472 Coordinates: 44°36′57″N104°46′29″W / 44.61583°N 104.77472°W / 44.61583; -104.77472 [2]
USA Wyoming location map.svg
Red triangle with thick white border.svg
Missouri Buttes
Parent range Black Hills
Topo map USGS Missouri Buttes, WY

Missouri Buttes are located in Crook County in northeast Wyoming on the northwest flank of the Black Hills Uplift. The buttes are 3.5 miles (5.6 km) northwest (N60°W) of Devils Tower between the Little Missouri and the Belle Fourche rivers. [3]

Crook County, Wyoming County in the United States

Crook County is a county in the northeastern section of the U.S. state of Wyoming. As of the 2010 United States Census, the population was 7,083, making it the third-least populous county in Wyoming. Its county seat is Sundance.

Wyoming State of the United States of America

Wyoming is a state in the mountain region of the western United States. The state is the 10th largest by area, the least populous, and the second most sparsely populated state in the country. Wyoming is bordered on the north by Montana, on the east by South Dakota and Nebraska, on the south by Colorado, on the southwest by Utah, and on the west by Idaho and Montana. The state population was estimated at 577,737 in 2018, which is less than 31 of the most populous U.S. cities including Denver in neighboring Colorado. Cheyenne is the state capital and the most populous city, with an estimated population of 63,624 in 2017.

Black Hills mountain range in South Dakota and Wyoming

The Black Hills are a small and isolated mountain range rising from the Great Plains of North America in western South Dakota and extending into Wyoming, United States. Black Elk Peak, which rises to 7,244 feet (2,208 m), is the range's highest summit. The Black Hills encompass the Black Hills National Forest. The name "Black Hills" is a translation of the Lakota Pahá Sápa. The hills were so-called because of their dark appearance from a distance, as they were covered in trees.

Topographic map of the Missouri Buttes area Missouri Buttes topo.jpg
Topographic map of the Missouri Buttes area

The Missouri Buttes consist of four separate summits which arise from an eroded mesa platform, the Butte Divide, which has an elevation of 4,650 feet (1,420 m). The butte peaks form a rough rectangle 0.5 x 0.65 mi. in size. The northwest butte is the highest with a summit at 5,374 feet (1,638 m). The northeast butte has an elevation of 5,212 feet (1,589 m), the southwest butte has an elevation of 5,020 feet (1,530 m) and the southeast butte has an elevation of 5,055 feet (1,541 m). A small lake, the Missouri Buttes Lake, lies 800 metres (2,600 ft) west of the buttes. [4]

Mesa Elevated area of land with a flat top and sides that are usually steep cliffs

Mesa is the American English term for tableland, an elevated area of land with a flat top and sides that are usually steep cliffs. It takes its name from its characteristic table-top shape. It may also be called a table hill, table-topped hill or table mountain. It is larger than a butte, which it otherwise resembles closely.

As with Devils Tower, the buttes are composed of igneous intrusive phonolite which exhibits columnar jointing. The rocks of the buttes have been interpreted to be part of a laccolith, a magmatic stock or volcano conduits that became exposed at the surface after overlying rocks eroded away. [5]

Phonolite subclass of extrusive volcanic rock

Phonolite is an uncommon extrusive rock, of intermediate chemical composition between felsic and mafic, with texture ranging from aphanitic (fine-grain) to porphyritic. Its intrusive equivalent is nepheline syenite.


A laccolith is a sheet intrusion that has been injected between two layers of sedimentary rock. The pressure of the magma is high enough that the overlying strata are forced upward, giving the laccolith a dome or mushroom-like form with a generally planar base.

Stock (geology) geological feature

In geology, a stock is an igneous intrusion that has a surface exposure of less than 100 square kilometres (40 sq mi), differing from batholiths only in being smaller. A stock has a discordant relationship with the rocks that it intrudes. The term stock usually refers to individual, relatively small plutons, less than 20 km (12 mi) diameter, usually in relative isolation. Many stocks are cupolas of hidden batholiths. Circular or elliptical stocks may have been vents feeding former volcanoes.

Devils Tower (right) and Missouri Buttes (left) on the horizon, viewed from the divide of Cabin Creek, 12 miles south. 1908 USGS photograph Devils Tower - Missouri Buttes.jpg
Devils Tower (right) and Missouri Buttes (left) on the horizon, viewed from the divide of Cabin Creek, 12 miles south. 1908 USGS photograph

Related Research Articles

Devils Tower laccolith formation in Wyoming, USA

Devils Tower is a laccolithic butte composed of igneous rock in the Bear Lodge Mountains near Hulett and Sundance in Crook County, northeastern Wyoming, above the Belle Fourche River. It rises 1,267 feet above the Belle Fourche River, standing 867 feet from summit to base. The summit is 5,112 feet above sea level.

Mount Bachelor volcano

Mount Bachelor, formerly named Bachelor Butte, is a stratovolcano atop a shield volcano in the Cascade Volcanic Arc and the Cascade Range of central Oregon. Named Mount Bachelor because it "stands apart" from the nearby Three Sisters, it lies in the eastern segment of the central portion of the High Cascades, the eastern segment of the Cascade Range. The volcano lies at the northern end of the 15-mile (24 km) long Mount Bachelor Volcanic Chain, which underwent four major eruptive episodes during the Pleistocene and the Holocene. The United States Geological Survey considers Mount Bachelor a moderate threat, but Bachelor poses little threat of becoming an active volcano in the near future. It remains unclear whether the volcano is extinct or just inactive.

Butte Isolated hill with steep, often vertical sides and a small, relatively flat top

In geomorphology, a butte is an isolated hill with steep, often vertical sides and a small, relatively flat top; buttes are smaller landforms than mesas, plateaus, and tablelands. The word "butte" comes from a French word meaning "small hill"; its use is prevalent in the Western United States, including the southwest where "mesa" is used for the larger landform. Because of their distinctive shapes, buttes are frequently landmarks in plains and mountainous areas. In differentiating mesas and buttes, geographers use the rule of thumb that a mesa has a top that is wider than its height, while a butte has a top that is narrower than its height.

Little Missouri River (North Dakota) watercourse in the United States of America

The Little Missouri River is a tributary of the Missouri River, 560 miles (901 km) long, in the northern Great Plains of the United States. Rising in northeastern Wyoming, in western Crook County about 15 miles (24 km) west of Devils Tower, it flows northeastward, across a corner of southeastern Montana, and into South Dakota. In South Dakota, it flows northward through the Badlands into North Dakota, crossing the Little Missouri National Grassland and both units of Theodore Roosevelt National Park. In the north unit of the park, it turns eastward and flows into the Missouri in Dunn County at Lake Sakakawea, where it forms an arm of the reservoir 30 miles (48 km) long called Little Missouri Bay and joins the main channel of the Missouri about 25 miles (40 km) northeast of Killdeer.

Mount McLoughlin Stratovolcano in the Cascade Range of southern Oregon

Mount McLoughlin is a steep-sided stratovolcano, or composite volcano, in the Cascade Range of southern Oregon and within the Sky Lakes Wilderness. It is one of the volcanic peaks in the Cascade Volcanic Arc, within the High Cascades sector. A prominent landmark for the Rogue River Valley, the mountain is north of Mount Shasta, and Crater Lake lies to the north-northeast. It was named around 1838 after John McLoughlin, a Chief Factor for the Hudson's Bay Company. McLouglin's prominence has made it a landmark to Native American populations for thousands of years.

Tukgahgo Mountain mountain in United States of America

Tukgahgo Mountain (TUG-a-ho) is a mountain in the Takshanuk Mountains in the U.S. state of Alaska with a peak elevation of 4,675 feet (1,425 m). It is located in Haines Borough, 3.5 miles (5.6 km) to the southwest of Chilkoot Lake and 16 miles (26 km) to the southwest of Skagway. Geological investigations of the veins in the mountain have revealed silver, gold, platinum, and palladium mineralization, derived from mid-Cretaceous events.

Olallie Butte mountain in United States of America

Olallie Butte is a steep-sided shield volcano in the Cascade Range of the northern part of the U.S. state of Oregon. It is the largest volcano and highest point in the 50-mile (80 km) distance between Mount Hood and Mount Jefferson. Located just outside the Olallie Scenic Area, it is surrounded by more than 200 lakes and ponds fed by runoff, precipitation, and underground seepage, which are popular spots for fishing, boating, and swimming. The butte forms a prominent feature in the Mount Jefferson region and is usually covered with snow during the winter and spring seasons.

Hayrick Butte mountain in United States of America

Hayrick Butte is a tuya, a type of subglacial volcano, in Linn County, Oregon. Located in the Willamette National Forest near Santiam Pass, it lies adjacent to the cinder cone Hoodoo Butte, which has a ski area. Hayrick Butte likely formed when lava erupted underneath an overlying glacier or ice sheet, producing the flat top with near-vertical walls along the ice-contact margin as the lava cooled and hardened. Hayrick Butte has a nearly flat plateau about 0.5 miles (0.80 km) across and steep walls rising about 700 feet (0.21 km) above its surroundings. A cartographer accidentally switched the names for nearby Hoodoo Butte and Hayrick Butte; the word "hoodoo" usually refers to rock piles and pinnacles like those observed at Hayrick Butte.

Pelican Butte mountain in United States of America

Pelican Butte is a steep-sided dormant shield volcano in the Cascade Range of southern Oregon. It is located 28 miles (45 km) due south of Crater Lake and 12 miles (19 km) northeast of Mount McLoughlin, and rises over 3,800 feet (1,200 m) directly above the shore of Upper Klamath Lake. Ice Age glaciers carved a large cirque into the northeast flank of the mountain, forming a steep bowl which is popular in winter with backcountry skiers and snowmobilers. Several proposals have been made over the last few decades for ski area development on the northeast flanks, but none of the proposals has obtained the regulatory approval from the United States Forest Service necessary to proceed with construction. If the ski area is ever built, its skiable vertical of over 3,800 feet (1,200 m) would be the largest in Oregon exceeding the 3,590 feet (1,090 m) of Timberline Lodge ski area on Mount Hood.

Black Buttes landform

The Black Buttes, also known historically as the Sawtooth Rocks, make up an extinct stratovolcano in the Cascade Volcanic Arc in Whatcom County, Washington, United States. Glacially eroded remnants of this volcano rise above the Deming Glacier, part of the glacier system of the nearby volcano Mount Baker. There are three major peaks — Colfax, Lincoln, and Seward — which can all be climbed.

Crested Butte mountain in United States of America

Crested Butte is a prominent mountain summit in the Elk Mountains range of the Rocky Mountains of North America. The 12,168-foot (3,709 m) peak is located in Gunnison National Forest, 2.1 miles (3.4 km) northeast by east of the Town of Crested Butte in Gunnison County, Colorado, United States. Ski lifts and runs of the Crested Butte Mountain Resort occupy the north side of the mountain.

Graham Mountain (New York) Highest privately owned summit in New Yorks Catskill Mountains

Graham Mountain is the seventh highest of the Catskill High Peaks and the highest privately owned mountain in the range. It is located in the town of Hardenburgh, New York, United States.

Orland Buttes mountain in United States of America

The Orland Buttes consist of two buttes (hills) separated by Hambright Creek. They are in Glenn and Tehama counties, adjacent to Black Butte Lake and 7.2 miles (11.6 km) west of the city of Orland and I-5. Black Butte Lake is an artificial lake created to provide flood control and irrigation.

Specimen Ridge mountain in United States of America

Specimen Ridge, el. 8,379 feet (2,554 m) is an approximately 8.5-mile (13.7 km) ridge along the south rim of the Lamar Valley in Yellowstone National Park. The ridge separates the Lamar Valley from Mirror Plateau. The ridge is oriented northwest to southeast from the Tower Junction area to Amethyst Mountain. The ridge is known for its abundance of amethyst, opal and petrified wood. It was referred to as Specimen Mountain by local miners and was probably named by prospectors well before 1870. The south side of the ridge is traversed by the 18.8-mile (30.3 km) Specimen Ridge Trail between Tower Junction and Soda Butte Creek. The trail passes through the Petrified Forest and over the summit of Amethyst Mountain el. 9,614 feet (2,930 m).

Newton Butte mountain in United States of America

Newton Butte, in the Grand Canyon, Arizona, United States is a prominence below the South Rim, northwest of Grandview Point, and north on a ridgeline from Shoshone Point which is one mile east of Yaki Point, East Rim Drive. Shoshone Point and Yaki are both on access roads from East Rim Drive, with Yaki being the more advantageous to different viewing directions.

West and East Mitten Buttes mountain in United States of America

The West and East Mitten Buttes are two buttes in the Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park in northeast Navajo County, Arizona. When viewed from the south, the buttes appear to be two gigantic mittens with their thumbs facing inwards.

Temescal Mountains, formerly the Sierra Temescal, are one of the northernmost mountain ranges of the Peninsular Ranges in western Riverside County, in Southern California in the United States. They extend for approximately 25 mi (40 km) southeast of the Santa Ana River east of the Elsinore Fault Zone to the Temecula Basin and form the western edge of the Perris Block.

Amethyst Mountain, el. 9,609 feet (2,929 m) is the highest peak and central part of a northwest – southeast trending ridge that lies between the Lamar River to the northeast and Deep Creek to the southwest within Park County, Wyoming. From northwest to southeast, this ridge consists of Specimen Ridge, Amethyst Mountain, and the Mirror Plateau in Yellowstone National Park. The nearest town is Silver Gate, Montana, which is 19.2 miles away.

Big Butt Mountain or Big Butt are the names of five distinct mountains in Western North Carolina. Butt in this context is a corruption of butte.

Cline Buttes

The Cline Buttes are mountains with volcanic origins that form three dome-shaped peaks located in Deschutes County in central Oregon. They are some of the eastern foothills of the Cascade Range. Situated on land administered by the Bureau of Land Management, the buttes are flanked on the east and west sides by two separate sections of the Eagle Crest Resort. On the highest summit, there is a Federal Aviation Administration site with an aircraft navigation beacon. The mountains have several hiking trails as well as a number of popular mountain bike routes.


  1. 1 2 "Missouri Buttes, Wyoming". Peakbagger.com. Retrieved 2010-10-30.
  2. "Missouri Buttes". Geographic Names Information System . United States Geological Survey . Retrieved 2010-10-30.
  3. United States Geological Survey, Devils Tower Wyoming, South Dakota, Montana; 30x60 min. USGS Quadrangle 1979
  4. United States Geological Survey, Missouri Buttes Quadrangle, Wyoming-Crook Co., 7.5 minute series, 1984
  5. Zavada, P., et. al., On the geological origin of Devils Tower (WY, USA), American Geophysical Union, Fall Meeting 2011, abstract #V33C-2659