Heart of Stone

February 14, 2017

HeartofStone_DSC01799 (3)

Photographer: Patti Weeks
Summary Author: Patti Weeks

“If you see this heart when you are with your sweetheart, you will have the good fortune of a long-lived relationship,” said the captain of our Rainbow Bridge National Monument scenic tour boat, who claims proof of this story by her 35-year marriage. This boat excursion from Lake Powell’s Wahweap Marina in Arizona takes passengers northeast 50 mi (80 km) to Rainbow Bridge National Monument in Utah. The second largest human-made lake in the U.S., Lake Powell, lies within the 1.2 million-acre Glen Canyon Recreation Area. Boat rides provide unobstructed views of colorful bluffs, mesas and canyons.

The heart is found in the narrow, Rainbow Bridge Canyon Creek. Erosion carved it in the thick, mostly quartz layer of the Navajo Sandstone. This early Jurassic formation, one of the thickest layers of ancient rock, ranging from 1,170 to 1,230 ft (357 to 375 m), was deposited in an ancient, arid erg (a sea-sand desert) that extended over present-day Utah and parts of Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico and Wyoming.

The vertical dark streaks flowing down the cliffs are examples of desert varnish, formed by trace amounts of manganese and iron oxides. The so-called bathtub ring is the broad mineral-covered swath of white at the base of the cliff. This band is seen all along the lake and reveals the area that was covered by the lake when at its peak level — nearly 100 ft (30 m) higher than today. Photo taken on August 21, 2016.

Photo Details: Camera Model: DSC-RX100M4; Lens: 8.8-25.7mm ƒ/1.8-2.8; Focal Length: 17.06mm (35mm equivalent: 47mm); Aperture: ƒ/5.6; Exposure Time: 0.010 s (1/100); ISO equiv: 125.