Wednesday, April 8, 2009

. . . Sunset

Continuing from yesterday, our next observation point in Bryce Canyon NP was Sunset Point.

Unlike driving in Zion NP, where we drove on the "floor" of the Park and looked up at the massive rock formations and walls, in Bryce, we drove on the "roof" and looked down on the formations and into the valleys.

Here the Silent City, a maze of hoodoos and fins packed in tight formation, rises from the canyon floor. Hoodoos--pillars of rock--result from erosion over centuries.

Plateaus, with their sloping sides, were transformed into walls or fins as the water removed the loose material on the slopes.

Slow-moving or standing water undergoing frequent freezing and thawing on the fins created gullies down the sides of the fins.

As these gullies increased in depth, windows were formed in the fins. As the windows grew in size, more of the material was washed away.

The result of this process of erosion was the formation of these pillars, or hoodoos.

The snow on the hoodoos in the next two photos were our favorite appearance of the hoodoos. They resemble Creamsicles--ice cream surrounded by an orange sherbet shell.

The paths to the observation points at all the designated areas in Bryce Canyon were wide, paved walkways with fences to prevent falls.

Just below the overlook on the northern edge of Sunset Point is Thor's Hammer, striking in form due to its isolation from other hoodoos.

Reminder: To enlarge the photos for a better view of the details of the formations, place the cursor on the picture and left double click.

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