Fact Check: Devils Tower Does NOT Have A Massive Underground Root System

Fact Check

  • by: Christiana Dillard
Fact Check: Devils Tower Does NOT Have A Massive Underground Root System Tower Not Tree

Was a massive root system discovered under Devils Tower, a geological formation designated as a national monument in Wyoming? No, that's not true: A spokesperson for Wyoming State Parks confirmed that the claim originated from a satirical social media post.

The claim appeared in a Facebook post (archived here) published on July 6, 2021. The post featured a picture of Devils Tower and a diagram of an extensive root system. It opened:

***New Discovery Will Change History***
A huge and startling discovery has been made at the Devils Tower in Wyoming. Scientists from the Wyoming State Parks Department were conducting photographic seismic readings below the tower, when they discovered an incredibly large petrified root system below the tower.

This is what the post looked like on Facebook on July 7, 2021:

Facebook screenshot

(Source: Facebook screenshot taken on Wed Jul 7 18:10:52 2021 UTC)

Lead Stories could not locate any statement from Wyoming State Parks that matched the one included in the post. During a phone call with Lead Stories on July 7, 2021, Gary Schoene, public information office manager of Wyoming State Parks, said:

The outlet that published that is similar to The Onion. It's called Casper Planet. So no, it's not true.

As of July 7, 2021, the About section of the Casper Planet Facebook page read:

Delivering the Snews that doesn't matter directly to your Snews feed.
satire, humor, and opinion,
names/locations are made up

The Casper Planet version of the Devils Tower claim was debunked by Snopes in 2017. The debunk located the original version of the root diagram, which turned out to be a diagram of root growth in sweet corn and determined that the satirical post's purpose was to mock a flat-Earth conspiracy theory.

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  Christiana Dillard

Christiana Dillard is a former news writer for Temple University’s Lew Klein College of Media and Communication. She received her undergraduate degree in English Writing from the University of Pittsburgh. She has been a freelance writer for several organizations including the Pittsburgh Black Media Federation, Pitt Magazine, and The Heinz Endowments. When she’s not producing or studying media she’s binging it, watching YouTube videos or any interesting series she can find on streaming services.

Read more about or contact Christiana Dillard

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