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Marks of History: The Sioux Quartzite of Falls Park

2/25/2009
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 Marks of History: The Sioux Quartzite of Falls Park

 
PIERRE, S.D. – The Falls of the Big Sioux River have long been the focus of life in the southeast region of South Dakota. Today, they are a tourist destination and a place to relax and unwind. 
 
One of the prominent features of FallsPark is the Sioux Quartzite formations creating the Falls. The quartzite and pipestone deposits were discovered by pioneers in the early 1800s and had been used by the Native Americans long before to make ornaments and utensils. Many visitors to the area wonder how the rock was formed. Many even believe it was put in place by the City of Sioux Falls in order to create the Falls. The historical marker, located on the main drive at FallsPark, describes how the Sioux Quartzite came to be. 
 
Deposited more than a billion years ago, this is some of the oldest exposed rock in South Dakota. Consisting of thick beds of silica-cemented quartz and sandstone grains, the Sioux Quartzite of Falls Park was formed by the wave action of an ancient continental sea.  
 
The Big Sioux River has been flowing in its present course for about 10,000 years and the very dense, compact rock still remains. Once used as a building material by the Pioneers, the Sioux Quartzite is a common component in concrete construction and continues to be a very important natural resource for South Dakota.
 
The Marks of History series is a project of the South Dakota Office of Tourism designed to highlight historic markers all across South Dakota. Click on the special “Marks of History” link at www.MediaSD.com to access the complete list of articles.
 
The Marks of History series is part of Goal 1 of the 2010 Initiative to double visitor spending in South Dakota, and Goal 4 to enhance history and arts as a tool for economic development and cultural tourism in South Dakota. The Office of Tourism serves under the direction of Richard Benda, Secretary of the Department of Tourism and State Development.
 
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Note: The South Dakota Office of Tourism is not responsible for the text included on these markers. Some of the language used at the time of production may not be appropriate by today’s standards. Please view the markers at your own discretion.