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Researchers figure out how oddly shaped sandstone landform structures come about

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Posted July 22, 2014
Researchers figure out how oddly shaped sandstone landform structures come about
Delicate Arch, Arches National Park, Utah, USA. Credit: Jaroslav Soukup

A team of researchers with members from facilities in the Czech Republic and one from the U.S. has discovered the mechanism by which unique sandstone landforms take shape. In their paper published in Nature Geoscience, the team describes how their studies of sandstone in their lab led to insights about how both gravity and erosion contribute to the creation of such unique structures as Delicate Arch at Arches National Park in Utah. Chris Paola of the University of Minnesota offers a News & Views piece on the research done by the team in the same journal issue.

For many years, scientists have assumed it was wind and rain along with freezing and thawing that accounted for uniquely shaped sandstone landforms—they occur in many places and generally cause those who see them to take a second—or third look. Many believed they came about because some of the rock was just naturally harder than other parts. The results were sometimes awe inspiring structures that at times appeared to defy gravity. But now, new research suggests that it’s actually gravity that allows the structures to form in the first place.

Read more at: Phys.org

 

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