Photographic Vignettes # 26
Last week I was talking to a friend and realized I had never put up a post showing photographs of Arches National Park. I am ashamed and have decided to rectify the problem.
Stone arches are certainly not unique to Utah or the Intermountain West, but what makes Arches National Park so noteworthy is the concentration of arches. The park has over 2,000 individual arches interspersed with other fantastically weathered formations.
A quick note about arches versus bridges. Both of them are open spans created by erosion, but arches are created by intermittent water and a natural bridge is formed by continuous water flow like a river or stream. Below is a natural bridge for comparison (specifically Sipapu at Natural Bridges National Monument).
The arches at Arches, are all actually of a newer stone layer than the bridge above. They’re from the layers called Entrada and Navajo sandstone and date to the Jurassic Period (Natural Bridges shown is from the Permian). And much of the exposed sandstone in Arches shows desert varnish, a mixture of elemental, clay and organic material that makes the normally red stone look deep brown.