Balanced Rock: Arches National Park
Size:  (not chosen)
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Balanced Rock in Arches NP is a striking erosional feature, carved by wind, water, and ice wedging, from two members of the Entrada Formation. The upper, the Slick Rock member, is relatively resistant to erosion. The lower, the Dewey Bridge member, is eroded more easily. That difference leads to the formation of balanced rocks and spectacular arches in Arches National Park.
Enter Arches NP from Highway 191 north of Moab. Follow the road and signage to the turnout near the posted coordinates. It is a short hike on a well marked path up a gentle grade to the base of the feature.
Supplies: Water, camera. Access to a computer and Google.
- To understand how balanced rocks are formed;
- To be able to identify the Navajo and Entrada Formations within Arches NP.
- To be able to describe “ice wedging” as an erosional process.
Educational Requirement: To get credit for this EarthCache you must email us your answer to any one of the Study Questions and let us know how many people were in your party.
Study Questions [Azimov-Rated]:
- College-Bound AP As you travel through the Park try to identify rock formations that might someday become balanced rocks. Post a picture of such a formation, along with its lat-lon coordinates.
- College-Bound AP What differences do you see between the Navajo and the Entrada formations?
- Freshman What differences do you see between the Slick Rock and Dewey Bridge members of the Entrada Formation?
- Freshman What is the difference between mechanical weathering and chemical weathering? What is “ice wedging”? Which processes are operating here?
- Graduate What is a cap-rock? How are balanced rocks like inverted valleys? Hint:
- Ph.D. How would carbonic acid accelerate the erosion of sandstone? See Link Hint: What “cements” the grains of sand?
Links and Resources:
(No hints available.)
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Coordinates are in the WGS84 datum