Natural Bridge Versus Natural Arch

January 12, 2018

Sipapu Bridge (1)

Landscape Arch (1)

Photographer: Rob Lawley 
Summary Author: Rob Lawley 

What’s the difference between a natural bridge and a natural arch? Well, in Utah there's an obvious difference. The Natural Bridges National Monument includes 3 natural bridges; all formed by flowing water that's cut through sandstone to form huge bridges, including Sipapu Bridge (top photo) with a span of 226 ft (69 m).

Conversely, Arches National Park has a number of natural arches that have been formed by weathering processes but not flowing water. Over time, persistent winds and freeze-thaw action have slowly eroded openings through vertical sandstone blocks, such as Landscape Arch, with a span 288 ft (88 m). It should be noted that nearby Bryce Canyon National Park includes an arch that's incorrectly named as Natural Bridge -- oops! Photos taken in August 2017.

Photo Details: Both photos - Camera: Samsung SM-G800F; Exposure Time: 0.0011s (1/901); Aperture: ƒ/2.4; ISO equivalent: 40; Focal Length (35mm): 31.