Devils Slide

February 01, 2016


Photographer: Ray Boren
Summary Author: Ray BorenFebruary 2016 Viewer's Choice

The Devil seems to get a good deal of credit when it comes to remarkable geologic features around the world, and one such site is Devils Slide, in Utah’s Weber Canyon, one of several scattered formations with that name. A large and dramatically tilted limestone-sided chute — part of a seabed, long ago — the slide is readily visible from Interstate 84. The photo here, taken on Dec. 27, 2015, shows the curiosity and nearby canyon slopes covered with new-fallen snow.

Devils Slide features a pair of weather- and erosion-resistant limestone strata. They’re about 40 feet (12 m) high, 25 feet (8 m) apart and several hundred feet in length, according to the Utah Geological Survey, and sandwich an intervening softer, and thus faster-eroding limestone, creating the channel. Together the rocks are lithified evidence of an ancient sea that covered parts of Utah, Wyoming and Montana 170 to 180 million years ago. The rock formations were tilted to the present near-vertical slant during a mountain-building episode that began about 75 million years ago.

In the late 1860s, Union Pacific construction work on the Transcontinental Railroad connecting the East and West coasts of the United States passed this way, along the Weber River and through Weber Canyon. The historic meeting with Central Pacific Railroad crews and dignitaries took place at Promontory Summit, at what is now the Golden Spike National Historic Site. Devils Slide became one of the landmarks that subsequent 19th- and 20th-century rail passengers watched for. Today, in addition to modern railroads, I-84 also follows the route. Across the canyon nearby is a limestone-quarrying operation and cement plant named after Devils Slide.

Photo Details: Camera Model: NIKON D3200; Lens: AF-S DX VR Zoom-Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G; Focal Length: 26mm (35mm equivalent: 39mm); Aperture: ƒ/11.0; Exposure Time: 0.0025 s (1/400); ISO equiv: 400.