Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Utah's Bridges: Wilson Arch

May 2006 (38.272 Degrees, -109.371 Degrees) Wilson Arch
Although there are not too many arch bridges near Moab there are many natural arches in the area. Wilson Arch is along US-191 but there are over 1,000 other natural arches in nearby Arches National Park. The forces of nature gradually form these arches, although many of them collapse before the process is completed. The Entrada Sandstone of this region is mostly eroded quartz and feldspar that becomes compacted by overlying layers and cemented by gypsum and lime that seeps through it and hardens.

The sandstone is gradually eroded by wind and flowing water. The expansion of ice crystals crack the rock and blowing winds remove particles until jagged fins remain.  More erosion cuts a hole through the fins, which vary from tens to hundreds of feet in length.

Wilson Arch is 91 ft long and 46 ft high. It was named after Joe Wilson, who was a pioneer who lived nearby. Although Wilson Arch probably gets less foot traffic than most bridges in the area, natural arches may have been some of the first footbridges and possibly inspired the first human-made arch bridges.
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Utah's Bridges: Wilson Arch by Mark Yashinsky is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

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