Hoodoos, Bryce Amphitheatre, Byrce Canyon National Park

This image of Bryce Amphitheatre in Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah, shows the several stages of differential erosion that create the fantastic spires and pinnacles of the canyon. A prominent fin in the left foreground of the image is capped by dolomite, magnesium rich sandstone that resists weathering more than the softer stone beneath. Water seeps into vertical cracks in the fin, and pushes apart the cracks as it freezes. Over 200 days a year experience frost and thawing in Bryce Canyon. Cracks separate and become hoodoos. After time the harder cap falls to the floor of the canyon and the spires are then subject to erosion by wind and the monsoon like rainfall of the late summer. Eventually all that is left is a softly rounded sand dune on the floor of the canyon.

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