Subscribe free to our newsletters via your
. Space Industry and Business News .

Sandstone arches formed by gravity and stress, not erosion
by Brooks Hays
Bryce Canyon, Utah (UPI) Jul 21, 2013

disclaimer: image is for illustration purposes only

Sandstone arches, alcoves and pillars are scattered across the globe, monuments to nature's strange beauty -- odd, gravity-defying shapes carved by the wind and rain. Or so we thought.

A new study suggests these spontaneous stone structures are not exactly carved by the whims of erosion. Although wind and water perform the grunt work -- blowing abrasive sheets of sand and water droplets against the rock, loosening and carrying away the weaker pieces of sediment -- it's the rock's internal stresses and structure that determine these formations' magnificent shapes.

In other words, it is the unique nature of sandstone -- not wind and rain -- that, with the help of gravity, creates the arches and spires of places like Utah's Bryce Canyon. Scientists proved as much by replicating these sandstone structures in lab settings, showing that even small blocks of otherwise crumbly material naturally form into arches.

As Alan Mayo, a hydrogeologist at Brigham Young University, recently explained in a report for Nature, erosion "undercuts the material" in a way that might predict collapse, but increased pressure along the edges of the un-eroded rock enables the remaining sand grains to lock together in a manner that's "incredibly stable."

"We should not say erosion or weathering carved the forms, as it was the stress field which give the forms the shape," said Jiri Bruthans, a hydrogeologist at Charles University in Prague who co-authored the study with Mayo. "Erosion processes are mere tools controlled by stress."

"To create perfect shapes you do not need intelligence or planning," Bruthans added. "The opposite is true for nature. Most perfect things are made by simple mechanisms."


Related Links
Space Technology News - Applications and Research

Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

French minister opposes Australian firm's plan to ship waste
Paris (AFP) July 18, 2014
French Ecology Minister Segolene Royal Friday voiced opposition to a proposal by Australian chemical giant Orica to ship highly toxic waste to France for incineration. "The transport of dangerous waste ... is an environmental aberration," said Royal, adding that she had instructed the top local official of the Isere region, where Orica wants to destroy the waste, to turn down the request. ... read more

Sandstone arches formed by gravity and stress, not erosion

19th Century Math Tactic Tweak Yields Answers 200 Times Faster

A new multi-bit 'spin' for MRAM storage

No-wait data centers

Third MUOS satellite heads for final checkout

Saab reports U.S. Army order for radio systems

Thales enhancing communications of EU peacekeepers

Exelis enhancing communications for NATO country

SpaceX Falcon 9 v1.1 Flights Deemed Successful

ISS 'space truck' launch postponed: Arianespace

45th Space Wing launches 6 second-generation ORBCOMM satellites

Sanctions on Russian launchers confers advantage to others

Russian GLONASS to Boost Yield Capacity by 50 percent

US Refusal to Host GLONASS Base a Form of Competition with Russia

New device developed to defeat GPS jamming

EU selects CGI to support Galileo Commercial Service Initiative

In air tragedy, lightning strikes twice for Malaysia

Airbus supplying more aircraft to Egyptian Air Force

Lockheed opening new office in Britain

Brazil's Embraer sells 60 commercial planes to China

Technique simplifies the creation of high-tech crystals

Rice's silicon oxide memories catch manufacturers' eye

The World's First Photonic Router

Negar Sani solved the mystery of the printed diode

NASA's Van Allen Probes Show How to Accelerate Electrons

Ten-Year Endeavor: NASA's Aura Tracks Pollutants

Hyperspec Sensors Target Vegetation Fluorescence

New Satellite Imagery Now Available for ArcGIS Online Users Worldwide

Microplastics worse for crabs and other marine life than previously thought

New study links dredging to diseased corals

Italy cruise ship toxins threaten wildlife: activists

Straits of Mackinac 'worst possible place' for a Great Lakes oil spill

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement All images and articles appearing on Space Media Network have been edited or digitally altered in some way. Any requests to remove copyright material will be acted upon in a timely and appropriate manner. Any attempt to extort money from Space Media Network will be ignored and reported to Australian Law Enforcement Agencies as a potential case of financial fraud involving the use of a telephonic carriage device or postal service.