December 3rd, 2020
Understanding the geology of Bryce Canyon is essential to any visit, so here’s a quick lesson as we look at our first hoodoos.
Sixty million years ago, this area was a lake. Sixteen million years ago, the force of the earth uplifted the Paunsaugunt Plateau to 8,000 ft /2440 m, and the Aquarius Plateau to a lesser degree. The Paria River, tributary of the Colorado River, carved a valley between the plateaus. This “headward” erosion washed away the soft limestone in the valley, leaving behind the odd rock formations called hoodoos. Iron in the limestone oxidizes, causing the color to change into peachy tints and shades.
Mechanical and chemical weathering continue today. Rain, snow, ice and the freeze/thaw cycles break rocks into smaller fragments, and calcium carbonate (the “glue” that holds the layers together) dissolves over time. The landscape is constantly changing and continually captivating. You can read more below, from the park signage at Yovimpa Point.
What’s also intriguing is that the canyon sits along the east side of the road running through the park. Looking west, the landscape is entirely different and uneventful.
Tomorrow I’m hoping to share something new — a desktop experience for anyone who wants to see my photos and experience Bryce Canyon in a larger format. Fingers crossed! I will literally keep you posted. 🙂
Photos of the Day: Adding a bit of light to the darkness as we get through the pandemic together. This series features travel photos from my archives, shared with you while staying close to home.