Bryce Canyon

December 10, 2004


Provided by: Wojtek Rychlik, Pikes Peak Photo
Summary authors & editors: Jim Foster; Michael Motal; Wojtek Rychlik

The photo above showing a sculptured canyon in Bryce National Park, Utah, is beautifully illuminated by the rising Sun. It was taken on September 4, 2004. Sandstone and limestone rock formations (dating from the late Mesozoic and Early Cenozoic periods), having trace amounts of iron and manganese oxides, are primarily responsible for the warm colors. Note the conifer (likely a Pinon pine) on its toes in the foreground -- struggling to retain a foothold in a hostile environment. It clearly illustrates the erosion forces which have formed the striking formations in the valley below. When the tree was a seedling, it started its branching root structure under the surface of the soil. As time passed, the soil eroded away exposing more and more of the roots. It would be interesting to determine the age of the tree, and thereby the rate of erosion that's occuring on this ridge.

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