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Bryce Natural Bridge or Arch? 🌎 EarthCache

Hidden : 07/21/2019
2 out of 5
1 out of 5

Size: Size:   other (other)

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Geocache Description:

What is a Natural Bridge

Natural Bridges are formed by chemical weathering when stream or river water erodes rock away over a long period of time. Eventually the water erodes softer rock causing an opening on the other side of a portion of harder capstone rock creating a natural bridge.

How are Arches Formed

Arches are formed by a combination of erosion and weathering processes. Over thousands of years, water and wind cracked the exposed sandstone forming narrow canyons and gullies. Eventually erosion scoured out the stone, leaving thin walls called "fins" in between.

Frost Wedging occurs when water seeps into cracks, freezes and breaks away at the soft interior area of some of these fins. Dissolution is the chemical dissolving of rock by rainwater. Finally gravity pulls loose the weakened pockets of rock at the center creating a small window. The opening gradually enlarges until the window becomes an arch. The arch continues to widen and deepen as wind and water clear away the stone. Over thousands of years the arch will continue to widen while the capstone thins. Eventually the span will collapse.

To qualify for this Earthcache send me an email or message via my geocaching profile with the answers to the following questions. Please include the name of the cache along with your answers.
Do not post the answers in your log.
Photos are encouraged!
Also, let us know where you are from.

  1. Near the viewpoint there is a info sign. According to the sign, is the rock feature technically a natural bridge or an arch?
  2. In your own words describe the process of how the rock feature was formed.
  3. Describe the differences in color and texture that you see between the top (cap stone) and bottom of the arch.
  4. Is the rock at the top of the arch (cap stone) harder or softer than the rock at the base of the arch?
  5. What is the elevation posted on the sign?
    (Please don’t post answer or pics)

FTF: Zer0!!! 🌎

Utah Geological Survey
Bryce Canyon National Park

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