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The Official Website of the State of West Virginia

Devil’s Backbone continues to intrigue Pocahontas County visitors

7/23/2022

Early settlers in Pocahontas County called it "The Devil's Backbone" as most believed such an unnatural thing could only be the work of evil. While geologists now understand the forces that created this dramatic arch, the explanation may be even harder to believe than the superstition.
When Jacob Marlin and Stephen Sewell arrived in the valley of the Greenbrier River in the 1770s, the forces that created the sandstone arch were little understood, though they are perhaps even more unbelievable than a demonic cause.
Geologists say the layers of sandstone that vault upward at the backbone are, almost unimaginably, the remnants of a beach that had first been laid down some two billion years ago.
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