Delicate Arch

Arches National Park

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What is an arch?

An arch is a rock formation that has a naturally occurring curve shape.

How do the arches in Arches National Park form?

Millions of years ago there was a layer of salt covering the ground where Arches National Park is today. Sand, rock, and debris piled onto the salt. The salt layer started travelling upwards pushing the soft sediment along with it. Over more than 75 million years, the sediment went up. Rock was piled over the layers, and eventually most of the rock was eroded. Later water seeped through the thin rocks eroding the sand and causing the rock to collapse. This process of erosion made thin sandstone walls called fins. Sand gathered between close fins. Carbonic acid, over time dissolved the calcium carbonate that kept the sand together making a hole through the middle, creating a natural arch formation.
Arches National Park - Geology

Wildlife in the area

There are many animals that can be spotted at Arches National Park. You may see desert cottontails, rats, mule deer, and desert bighorn sheep just to name a few. You are very unlikely to spot a mountain lion, but they're out there.

Plants you will find

Prickly pear cactus is very common in this park. Prickly pear cacti have red or purple fruit on them that are safe to eat and are not poisonous. You will see lots of different types of grasses and wild flowers along the way.