Awe, curiosity over sudden, huge 'gash' in Wyoming's Bighorn Mountains

Story highlights

  • A hunting guide company posts pics about a geological phenomenon in Wyoming
  • Experts speculate that a wet groundwater spring may have contributed to "the crack"

(CNN)Some call it "The Crack." To others, it's "The Gash." And a few may see it simply as a case of the Earth opening up and swallowing itself.

Whatever the label, the emergence of the new geologic phenomenon in Wyoming's Bighorn Mountains is impressive.
SNS Outfitters & Guides first alerted the world about it last Friday, in the form of a picture that shows a rolling, largely barren landscape broken up by a sliver that was itself broken up -- not unlike a puzzle piece that doesn't or hasn't been fit in.
"This giant crack in the Earth appeared in the last two weeks on a ranch we hunt in the Bighorn Mountains," said the company, which offers guided elk, antelope, deer, moose and bear hunts. "Everyone here is calling it 'the gash.' It's a really incredible sight."
Subsequent photos popped up on social media showing the formation's considerable scale.
While not a canyon, which can take centuries to form, the drop is precipitous -- and many, many stories deep -- in parts. And it's not like it's just one crevice suggesting the ground broke cleanly; rather, there are a few different levels with huge steps. SNS reported this week the cracks extended about 750 yards long and 50 yards wide in spots.
As to why, an engineer from Riverton, Wyoming -- which is located about 120 miles west of Casper and 170 miles east of Jackson Hole -- found that a small spring "caused the bottom to slide out" and shifted 15 to 20 million yards of earth, according to SNS.