EarthScience Wire

Giant crack opens up in Wyoming

The Crack in Wyoming. Photo by Randy Becker of Casper.
The Crack in Wyoming. Photo by Randy Becker of Casper.

A giant crack has opened up in the ground near Lysite in central Wyoming, caused by gravity and a rainy spring.

Locals just call it The Crack. It started to open at the end of September, 2015 and is still going. Now it’s at least 100 feet (30 meters) deep in some places. Employees of SNS Outfitter & Guides on Facebook were the first to find The Crack and post photos of it at their Facebook page. In an update on October 26, 2015, they said:

Since so many people have commented and asked questions, we wanted to post an update with a little more information. An engineer from Riverton, Wyoming came out to shed a little light on this giant crack in the Earth. Apparently, a wet spring lubricated across a cap rock. Then, a small spring on either side caused the bottom to slide out. He estimated 15 to 20 million yards of movement. By range finder, an estimate is 750 yards [685 meters] long and about 50 yards [45 meters] wide.

The Crack is on state-owned land in the middle of a private cattle ranch. It poses no danger to humans, geologists say. Wyoming state geologist Tom Drean told USAToday that slides like this happen regularly in Wyoming, although they’re usually smaller. He pointed out the state has a long history of unique geography, from the Grand Tetons to Yellowstone National Park’s Old Faithful geyser. He said:

It certainly shows the power of the Earth.

Wyoming is a geologic wonderland, and this is just an example of that wonderland.

The Crack, via SNS Outfitters & Guides
The Crack, via SNS Outfitters & Guides
The Crack is near Lysite, Wyoming.  Map via
The Crack is near Lysite, Wyoming. Map via

Bottom line: A giant crack in the ground has opened up near Lysite in central Wyoming. The Crack, as locals call it, is now hundreds of yards (meters) long and still growing.

November 2, 2015

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