Geologic Formations

Rim Trail near Sunset at sunrise Point B. Roanhorse BBR 21 Jan 2016
Rim Trail near Sunset Point at sunrise.

Photographed by Brian B. Roanhorse 21 Jan, 2016.


Bryce Canyon is not a "real" canyon. It is not carved by flowing water. Water is the active ingredient here, but in the form of "frost-wedging" and chemical weathering.

For 200 days a year the temperature goes above and below freezing every day. During the day, melt water seeps into fractures only to freeze at night, expanding by 9%. Now as ice, it exerts a tremendous force (2,000-20,000 pounds per square inch). Over time this "frost-wedging" shatters and pries rock apart. In addition, rain water, which is naturally acidic, slowly dissolves the limestone, rounding off edges and washing away debris.

In the pages contained here you can see various phases of erosion and geological change.

View from Inspiration Point
Rich colors can be seen among the varied hoodoos, walls, and fins


Last updated: August 29, 2017

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Bryce, UT 84764


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