Balanced Rock

January 22, 2006


Provided by: Carl Crumley
Summary authors & editors: Carl Crumley; Jim Foster

The delicately balanced rock shown above was photographed in Valley of Fire State Park, Nevada, on November 17, 2005. It'll soon meet the same fate as its neighbors on the ground nearby. For scale purposes, the boulder atop the column is approximately 2 m in diameter. Sediments deposited on the floor of an ancient sea covering this area of Nevada are responsible for the sandstone formations visible today. After the sea retreated, eons of erosion resulted in these distinctive shapes. The sandstone here contains iron oxide giving it a fiery color. See also the Earth Science Picture of the Day for October 13, 2005.

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