Strange formations in Goblin Valley. Copyright © Frank Kovalchek. Image used under Creative Commons 2.0 License.

Goblin Valley State Park in Utah contains thousands of hoodoos, which are formations of mushroom-shaped rock pinnacles.  The unusual stone shapes in Goblin Valley result from the weathering of Entrada Sandstone.  They consist of debris eroded from former highlands and redeposited on a former tidal flat of alternating layers of sandstone, siltstone and shale.  Joint or fracture patterns within the Entrada’s sandstone beds created initial zones of weakness.  The unweathered joints intersected to form sharp edges and corners with greater surface-area-to-volume ratios than the faces.  As a result, the edges weathered more quickly, producing the spherical-shaped ‘goblins’.  (Source: Wikipedia, Image: Frank Kovalchek)

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