WHAT IS A HOODOO AND WHY IS IT ORANGE AND RED?
Our Summer of 2019 wanderings took us to Bryce Canyon in Utah. The hoodoos and rock formations are both beautiful and eerie. Two years ago The Good Doctor and I came to see the park…it was raining and packed. We had a couple of GREAT moments to photograph but, left after just a short while due to weather. This year, we brought Missy K to see this park. And, we rode down into the canyon on horseback to get a bird’s eye view of its alien rock formations.
For those who’ve never heard the term “hoodoo”, some additional information.
A hoodoo is a tall, thin spire of rock that protrudes from the bottom of an arid drainage basin or badland. Hoodoos typically consist of relatively soft rock topped by harder, less easily eroded stone that protects each column from the elements. They generally form within sedimentary rock and volcanic rock formations.
The mystical shapes inspire imagination and intrigue. It appears impossible that the destructive forces of water carved these fragile landforms. Instead many believe the hoodoos of Bryce Canyon were formed by wind. This is a mistaken idea. Wind is an effective form of erosion for many locations. However, for Bryce Canyon wind has little effect on the creation and destruction of the various shapes.
Hoodoos formed over thousands of years by the same processes that form the features of surrounding parks. Water, ice (at varying intervals) and gravity are the forces that form Bryce Canyon. These three erosive forces coupled with the differential erosion of the four rock types of the Claron Formation produced a different morphology than that of other parks. 10-15 million years ago the Paunsaugunt Plateau was caught and uplifted by the Colorado Plateau. Breaks called joints formed in the plateau during the uplift. Joints allowed water to flow into the rock. As water flowed through joints erosion widened them into rivulets and gullies. Over time, deep slot canyons formed in the sides of the plateau.
If you have a chance to take the kiddos to see this park take a ride down into the canyon. We chose the 3 hour ride but, they do offer shorter versions if you are new to riding. You can reserve online or in person at the Lodge.
We are ….still wandering until found!