Introduction: The Mysterious Labyrinth of the Arches National Park
Clearly one of the most surreal places on Earth, the Arches National Park, also known as a Red Rock Wonderland (A Red Rock Wonderland para. 1) is more than a bunch of weird-looking squiggly rocks – it is a place where quite complex processes are unceasingly taking place.
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At the first glance, the park does not differ from a range of similar Southern landscapes; however, as soon as the alleged travelers reach the magnificent domes, a breathtaking view will be opened in front of them. Because of complex geological processes caused by erosion and salt beds beneath the surface, the Arches National Park has a very specific look and provides a sand-and-clay soil type for the Park inhabitants.
Arches Formation and the Processes behind It: A Salt Bed
As researchers explain, the Arches National Park owes its weird look, or, to be more exact, the arched rocks that are scattered all over the park area, to the huge salt beds located underneath the park surface (Bergoff and Vana-Miller 8).
As the researches on the formation of arches in the park explain, the anticlines emerged after the overlying layers collapsed into the elongated crests created by the salt under the park surface (Arches National Park Utah para. 3). The erosion caused by wind, sun radiation and groundwater, in its turn, has contributed to making the arches even thinner, thus, making the Arches National Park landscape even more surreal.
Biological Soil Crust and What It Is Caused by: Live Organisms
Apart from the processes of erosion, which, combined with the effects that evaporations from salt beds have on the surface of the area, the park is also famous for its unusual type of soil cover. Defined as “knobby black” (Arches National Park para. 8), the given piece of soil is, in fact, alive. Consisting of “algae, lichens, and cyanobacteria” (Arches National Park para. 8), it makes a perfect environment for desert plants to grow in and owes its uniqueness to the process of nutrient (minerals) cycling in the specified area.
Since the surface of the area is rarely disturbed during the periods of draught, the evaporation rates are quite low, and, therefore, the chances for the soil to become a habitable environment for a number of organisms, including bacteria, algae and other microorganisms (Arches National Park – Cryptobiotic Soil para. 3).
Unforgettable Experience and Thought Provoking News
To be honest, the information about the Arches National Park was not a complete surprise to me. I have heard of the weird Utah landscape, yet never bothered to Google the pictures of this unbelievable place. As a result, wheat I learned about the geological processes behind the arches formation was a unique, curious and admittedly valuable experience for me.
The controversy regarding the negative effects that industry induced soil change has had on the park (Arches National Park – Cryptobiotic Soil para. 5), however, has been an unpleasant surprise for me. I am positively certain that the given paper is not the last research that I will do on the Arch National Park.
Conclusion: Watching the Earth Change
There is no doubt that the Arches National Park is one of the most amazing places in the world. However, it would be wrong to assume that the magnificent arches will stay in their places forever, just as it would be a mistake to claim that the biological soil crust is not going to be destructed by the increases in the average Arch Park temperature and longer and more severe draughts. Such changes are a sad yet inevitable element of the geological cycles, and the effects of these changes, both human induced and natural, are yet to be evaluated.
A Red Rock Wonderland. n. d. Web.
Arches National Park. n. d. Web.
Arches National Park – Cryptobiotic Soil. n. d. Web.
Arches National Park Utah. n. d. Web.
Bergoff, Kevin and David Vana-Miller. Canyonlands National Park, Arches National Park and Natural Bridges National Monument. Washington, DC: National Park Service. 1997. Print.