Arches Will Fall

Popular feature in Arches National Park succumbs to erosion

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Pour a forty, sandstone formation fans: Wall Arch, one of the most popular and most photographed arches of Arches National Park near Moab, Utah, has collapsed. We knew this day would come, geologically speaking, but that doesn’t make it any easier to take when it happens [sniff , sniff].

Park officials think the arch bit the dust sometime last Monday or Tuesday, though no one actually saw it crash into a thousand chunks of sandstone. Wall Arch lies along the Devils Garden trail, a well-known and popular spot in the park, and was the 12th-largest arch in the park.

So who caused this earthen tragedy? Don’t blame climber Dean Potter (he raised hackles when he climbed the Delicate Arch two years ago): Gravity and erosion claimed the Wall Arch, and over time, those two inexorable bastards will eventually destroy all the arches in the park.

The trail remains closed while park workers clear debris and wait for remaining bits of dangerous, overhanging rock to fall. Regarding the tragic events, Paul Henderson, the park’s chief of interpretation, shared these words of comfort:

You said it, brother. Like dust in the wind…all we are is dust in the wind.

Gravity, erosion rob Utah park of popular arch (CNN)