Split Rock – 100201
Split Rock is named for the deep fissure that splits this massive rock body into two distinct parts and can be clearly seen from the eastern side of the hill along the Criss Creek road.
Local legends tell that early trails crossed through the fissure of Split Rock – which would not have been an easy feat! The North West Fur Trading Company traveled near this location route in the early 1800s to a trading post once located just above Vidette Lake.
It has been told that the Deadman Valley was named after the murder of a French-Canadian clerk named Charette. He was apparently knifed to death during an argument with a traveling companion and his body was found in the river, near the North West Fur Trading post.
Very different from the rocks around it, the Split Rock of Deadman Valley is described by geologists as a breccia pipe: a tall ‘chimney’ of rock exposed as its surrounding volcanic host was eroded away. When looking at fallen rock and exposures in the road cuts below Split Rock you will see rocks comprised of a conglomeration of broken fragments of many shapes and sizes. These are the products of volcanic eruptions, many of which were partially crystallized in the chimney of a volcano prior to their ejection to the surface. It might be hard to imagine today - but you are in volcano country!
Geologists have also mapped large faults running the length of the Deadman Valley and beyond. Movement along these faults was largely horizontal, similar to the famous San Andreas Fault, and contributed to the landscape you see today. Faults certainly played a key role in the geological history of the area and have given us many phenomena such as Split Rock.
Mineral explorationists have been keenly aware of the role of faulting and volcanic activity in the valley and have pursued veins and other concentrations of gold and silver. In support of the ongoing pursuit of the mineral wealth of the valley, numerous active mineral claims exist along Criss Creek and around the historic Vidette Gold mine.
As you visit this unique phenomenon, ponder the powerful forces that created the landscape before you, the gentle toll of erosion that revealed it and the wonder of all those who came before you.