Archive - Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park

May 19, 2019

CoralPinkSandDunes009 (2)

Each Sunday we present a notable item from our archives. This EPOD was originally published May 22, 2013.

Photographer: Steven Poole 
Summary Authors: Steven Poole; Jim Foster; Stu Witmer

The view above shows the colorful sand dunes in Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park, Utah. This is the only major sand dune field on the Colorado Plateau. The dunes formed as Navajo sandstone eroded in the late Triassic or early Jurassic, 225 million years ago. Persistent winds and the peculiar geographic orientation of terrain features steered the sand into the valley on the leeward side of Moquith Mountain and Moccasin Mountain. The funneling effect of wind squeezing through the slot between these mountains accelerated the wind velocity, allowing even large sand grains to be lifted and redeposited miles away from the original sandstone outcrops. Ultimately, localized winds of the Holocene Epoch built the dunes that name the park. Coral and pink hues are attributed to the presence of iron oxides. Botanist Elias Castle may have been the first to use the term "coral pink" to describe the color of the dunes rather than any marine invertebrate origin. Photo taken on April 9, 2013.

Photo Details: Camera: Panasonic DMC-ZS19; Focal Length: 27.6mm (35mm equivalent: 154mm); Aperture: f/5.4; Exposure Time: 0.0013 s (1/800); ISO equiv: 100.