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A national park official said gravity and erosion caused the collapse of Wall Arch, which had measured 33 feet high and 71 feet across.
A national park official said gravity and erosion caused the collapse of Wall Arch, which had measured 33 feet high and 71 feet across. (National Park Service Via Associated Press)
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Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Natural Arch Collapses in Utah

· One of the largest and most photographed natural sandstone arches in southern Utah has collapsed.

Gravity and erosion combined to bring down the Wall Arch in Arches National Park.

The arch had been more than 33 feet tall and 71 feet across. It ranked 12th in size among the national park's estimated 2,000 arches. Arches must have an opening that measures at least three feet in any direction.

The Wall Arch was along Devils Garden Trail. No one reported seeing it fall.

Park official Paul Henderson said the same forces that caused it to collapse would eventually affect other arches, too.

"They all let go after a while," he said.

The trail was closed around the arch because rock continued to fall from the remaining arms.

Wall Arch was formed from sandstone. Sandstone is sedimentary rock made up of sand or quartz grains. It is usually red, yellow or brown.

Over time, wind and water whittled it into the formation popular with tourists.

The Wall Arch was first reported and named in 1948. The park's last arch collapse was in 1991.


© 2008 The Washington Post Company

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