Excerpt from Mines and Mining in the Black Hills
South Dakota as a state presents some striking features. In the matter of altitude there are wide divergencies. Big Stone Lake is only 967 feet above sea level, nearly 200 feet lower than Omaha, and Harney Peak towers up feet. ... There are plains as level as a ¿oor along James river valley, and narrow canons hundreds of feet deep in the Black Hills. There are areas where for scores of square miles one searches in vain for a stone, and there are districts which present an almost unbroken surface of rock, and barren places there are which are so saturated with acids and mineral solutions as to be utterly worthless; and again, there are a few ancient lake beds, forever decaying, barren and desolate - Bad Lands, as they are aptly termed.
The Black Hills proper have an area of about square miles, and their true limit is marked distinctly by a sharp ridge of sandstone 300 to 600 feet in height. This ridge is separated from the higher part of the Hills within by Red valley. The altitude of the Hills runs from 3, 500 to feet. Ten of the geologic ages are represented in the rock formation of this wonderful region and the scientists say that but two of the universal organic elements are lacking here and that this condition does not exist anywhere else in the world.
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