Desert brown landscape rock



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Desert brown landscape rock cut in rings

Totally weathered, here we can see some of the typical features:

Diagonal splints.

One of the most distinctive landscape features, the ‘V’ profile of the sandstone of Arches National Park can be seen in this beautiful example. The profile is actually a diagonal half-joint of fractured and weathered sandstone. There are numerous intervals in this rock formation that resemble this profile.

Weathered, weathered rock

I believe this piece of rusty weathered rock would have been formed as a sandstone sedimentary rock. This rock was probably formed along the bottom of a hot spring (in this case, the calcite-rich spring), where carbon dioxide from the air, reacting with the water, leached calcium from the rock. Because carbon dioxide is constantly renewing itself from the atmosphere, the surface of the rock is continually changing. It’s a beautiful process that can be easily observed in arches, where the eastern and western faces can be different colours.

Small pale rocks on the ridges

Here we see a grouping of small pale yellowish rocks on the top of the ridge of the ancient rock cut ‘The Narrows’, where people cut into a different rock from the parent rock. I love the light grey colour of this rock and how it looks slightly slippery with the newly-washed exposure.

‘The Narrows’ in the Murray River National Park

This part of the rock cut ‘The Narrows’ is the narrowest part of the canyon. It’s the original width of the river channel before the ancient people started to cut through the sandstone. I love the weathered tan colour of the rock with its distinctive patterns of ‘weeping’ and ‘diagonal splint’.

Getting old in time

This is one of the most exciting aspects of natural history. This rock was an original surface of the dunes formed some 4000 to 9000 years ago. This is the oldest land surface that I have found in an ancient rock cut landscape. My guess is that this was originally a surface of a ridge of dunes that formed because of the wind coming from the west to the east. Because this rock is located in the Murray River National Park, I am happy to know that it is still there in all of its old age and that it will last forever.

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About Andrew

Hi, my name is Andrew and I love rocks. This is my blog and website to share some of the information I have learned. Feel free to share comments and ask questions on my blog. You can also email me if you wish. Thanks for visiting my site.

3 Responses to Desert brown landscape rock cut in rings

I have always wondered about this sort of thing. I live on the rock cut road at the quarry, and every now and then I wonder what made the arches.I still can’t find out, although one of the workers may know. I can’t get near the side of the arches because of the trucks and such that use them.

Hi Steve, thank you for your comment. I didn’t realize this post was about the history of the arches in Arches National Park. I was trying to give my experience of the rocks as I walked around the park and I discovered one of the older historic photos of the park that included the carvings. The picture is now gone, but here is the link to a post with more details about this:

http://askhistoricalgeography.blogspot.ca/2011/08/historic-arches-national-park.html

If you are ever up that way, come down to the ‘Roof Ranch’ and I will take you through some of the rocks and tell you about them. Have a good day.

Hi Anita,

Thank you for your kind comment and your comment about rocks. Yes, it is always a pleasure to learn about the history of rocks. I especially like the picture you have linked. This was the first time that I had seen this old photo. Yes, I do live in the quarry but I love being on the high ridge of the dunes. Sometimes, I will have lunch and read on the rocks. If you ever come to visit Arches National Park, I will take you through some of the rocks. I like them more and more as I explore the park.

Happy day!

Hi, thank you for your interesting post. Arches was a place I had never seen when I lived in Australia, and I was very lucky to have had the chance to see it on this trip. You described the country really well. I will pass on your comments to a colleague who lives on the west coast. He works as a flipper in the karst in Australia and is very interested in it. Thanks for reading


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