This view within Utah's Arches National Park, shows the "Parade of Elephants" on the right, and "Double Arch" on the left.
Arches National Park has the highest concentration of natural stone arches on Earth, with over 2,000. Conditions were ideal for arch creation here. The Entrada Sandstone was once a massive desert of shifting dunes of fine-grained sand. The sand grains are nearly spherical, forming porous rock when packed together. And just the opposite, the Carmel layer beneath the Entrada contains a mix of sand and clay. Clay being much smaller particles, pack into the gaps between sand grains, making the rock denser and less porous than the sandstone.
Deep beneath the surface is a thick layer of salts. Squeezed by the tons of rock above it, the salt flowed and bulged upward, creating long domes. The rock layers covering these domes were forced to crack, like the surface of freshly baked bread, into a series of more or less parallel lines.
The next arch requirement is 'water erosion', with the right amount of rain, averaging 8 to 10 inches a year. Keeping erosion working 24 hours a day all year long. Rainwater soaks into the porous Entrada Sandstone easily then slowly dissolves the calcite bond, rotting the rock inside out. Water puddles just above the denser Carmel layer where it erodes a cavity, like food trapped between your teeth. In winter, water trapped between the two layers expands when it freezes and pries the rock apart.
The result is large gaps in the rock, creating windows and arches.
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jadesgran (5369) 2014-03-20 8:58
I am not surprised that this is called the `Parade of Elephants` It is so like the rear of elephants.
Lovely colours in the rocks and pleasing blue sky.
PaulVDV (24423) 2014-03-20 9:10
What a fascinating rock formations!
Beautiful colour contrasts.
When we look at the trees, we can only conclude that the rock walls and the arches have enormous dimensions.
Best regards, Paul
phildar77360 (328) 2014-03-20 9:38
Bravo pour cette belle composition. C est toujours un grand plaisir que de voir des photos de ce parc incroyable...
emka (86487) 2014-03-20 11:05
Hello Ray, Arches was my favorite national Park in South. It is so big and with such fantastic shapes of all these red rocks. It has already something from elephant. Strange, I remember well double arch but not this parade. Superb colours.
WArm regrads MAlgo
nikkitta (16790) 2014-03-20 14:48
It really seems from another dry planet, color, arches , caves, good informative note
Capture, in a way similar at one taken by me at the very North of Argentina, I called it Windows
Like the way you manage to show some sky through the windows
Very well done
delpeoples (55090) 2014-03-20 21:41
Wow, this is some stunning landscape, in fact I don't think I've seen this part of the desert before, so thanks for sharing it with us. The colours are beautiful and vibrant, you've picked up the textures and subtle tones so well. And they all contrast brilliantly with that amazing cloudless sky. Nice work!
Cheers and happy Friday
kato (11630) 2014-03-21 0:55
You're capturing well this huge rock arch by a good composition and excellent tone/clarity, so it's interesting and impressive to see arch and rock as cave. It seems to a mysterious nature's creature. And, it harmonizes well with the blue sky.
Kamilutka (8105) 2014-03-21 6:56
great nature's work and lovely captured in your lens. Proper framing makes one focus on the rocks' structure and their colors have been enhanced by the pretty light.
Good POV and angle.
Thanks for sharing
fritzi007 (8695) 2014-04-09 12:41
beautiful photo and very good comment, really very well done!