Thor's Hammer in Bryce Canyon National Park

July 31, 2011

Bryce Canyon 062811_Thor_864_3 (2)

Photographer: John Stetson
Summary Authors: John Stetson; Jim Foster

July 2011 Earth Science Picture of the Day Viewer's ChoiceThe photo above features Thor's Hammer as observed in the morning light at Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah. Watching the sunrise over the Bryce Canyon formations is an indescribable experience. Thor's Hammer is a spectacular example of a hoodoo, which is sometimes referred to as a tent rock or fairy chimney. They form because of erosion processes and may be found in badland areas whenever relatively hard rock overlays softer more erodible rock, such as sandstone. Here the sandstone is from the Claron Formation.The harder more resistant caprock protects the softer underlying layers from frost, wind, rain, freezing and thawing so that the rate of erosion is slower than elsewhere. A young Ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa) sitting at the base of the towering Thor’s Hammer (bottom right), approximately 150 ft (46 m) tall. Photo taken on June 28, 2011.

Photo Details: Camera Maker: NIKON CORPORATION; Camera Model: NIKON D300; Lens: 50.0 mm f/1.8; Focal Length: 50.0mm (35mm equivalent: 75mm); Aperture: f/9.0; Exposure Time: 0.010 s (1/100); ISO equiv: 250.