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Why are we in Anaconda?

Anaconda boasts robust outdoor recreational experiences - skiing, hiking, biking, riding, fishing, hunting, climbing, zip lining and more. We all at Pintler's Portal Hostel have a kinship with soaring mountains accentuated by high mountain lakes and deep green valleys. It is the area's unique geology that supports habitat for wildlife, produces resources and supports diverse outdoor adventures.

The Anaconda range emerged when an immense block of older rock pushed up over younger rock and slid eastward 10s of miles. The Anaconda Range is thought to be a Geologic Detachment as a result, including the 10,607 ft Mount Haggin.

Many of the mountain ranges near Anaconda have a similar origin, at least in part. Billion-year-old sand, silts and muds, which originally lay horizontally, have experienced tremendous pressures and temperature as continents collide and are transformed over time into solid rock. A scenic display of such a force are the tilted rock beds along MT State Highway 1 between Anaconda and Phillipsburg

These forces happen gradually over hundreds of thousands and millions of years. Earth's continents float on a hot semiplastic layer of rock (Plate Tectonics and the Unifying Theory of Geology). Continents crash into one another causing some of the huge forces responsible for the Anaconda range. Earthquakes are part of this process - the sudden but incremental release of pressures from these continental collisions.

These forces can cause pressure so immense that it deforms, rather than fractures or breaks, rock - much like the way ice and snow, slowly slipping and bending off your roof. What seems to be a solid piece of ice slowly bends due to nothing more than its own weight and gravity. We should talk about local glaciers next time.

A short walk through Anaconda's Washoe Park reveals more fascinating geologic features - if you know how to look for them. Ask Steve at the hostel and read the most read book at Pintler's Portal Hostel Roadside Geology of Montana, 2nd Edition, D. W. Hyndman and R. C. Thomas, 2020. The illustrations by Chelsea M. Feeney offer many roadside views of the geology in this fascinating State of Montana.

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