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Arches National Park, Utah

Updated: May 19

What happened to all the missing material in Southern Utah?

Application: The Bible provides the most accurate record of the circumstances required to create the arches of Southern Utah.

In this Lesson, Dr. Bob visits Arches National Monument in Southern Utah and observes first-hand the evidence of retreating flood waters eroding fractured sediments deposited during the flood..

Supplemental Information

The arches of Southern Utah are spectacular geological features. Their red sandstone beauty is awe-inspiring. Understanding that they are the result of retreating flood-waters after the global flood adds a new element to their beauty. As recorded in book Arches: The Story Behind the Scenery by D.W. Johnson, the "Uplift of the entire region fractured the rocks of the Entrada Sandstone. Erosion has worked on these cracks and formed rows of parallel ridges, or fins."

After these sediments were deposited by the global flood, the land began to rise. This rising caused fractures in the only partially lithified (turned to rock) sediments. These long linear cracks became great places for the retreating waters to erode further. This explains both the beautiful features, and the lack of sediments from this erosion in the nearby valleys.

Within the sandstone formations there is ample evidence of the original deposition of the sediments occurring catastrophically. This comes from the cross bedding nature and the large area of the sediments themselves. There are strong current marks where individual layers are caught up in cross currents. This indicates fast flowing water has deposited the original sediments now exposed by the subsequent erosion.

The timing of arch formation in the conditions of the retreating flood is especially compelling when we remember that large arches are not forming today. Most of the significant geological features in the world today are the result of catastrophic process, not the slow and gradual processes of uniformitarianism.

The origin of free standing arches can seem mysterious. The explanations in the literature assume slow processes of erosion over tens of thousands of years, according to the principle of uniformitarianism. The problem with that much time is that the arch should have weathered and collapsed long before the material around it was able to erode and leave behind an arch. And yet, these remnants of the global flood remain.

One of the most photographed free standing arches in Arches National Park, Wall Arch, collapsed sometime late Monday or early Tuesday of August 4th and 5th, 2008. The arch is located along the popular Devils Garden Trail and was more than 33 ft tall and spanned 71 ft across before collapse. The collapse of this arch left physical evidence behind. If these features were created over long periods of time through gradual processes, where are the missing sediments. There are no massive deposits of the erosion products.

Wall Arch Before and After Collapse.

The events recorded in the Bible provide the best explanation for what we observe at Arches National Park. These massive geological features are another testimony to the devastating events of the global flood, and should be a reminder of God's preservation of those who trust Him.

Arches Worksheet
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Scripture References

  • "And, behold, I, even I, do bring a flood of waters upon the earth, to destroy all flesh, wherein [is] the breath of life, from under heaven; [and] every thing that [is] in the earth shall die." Genesis 6:17

  • "But God remembered Noah and all the beasts and all the livestock that were with him in the ark. And God made a wind blow over the earth, and the waters subsided. The fountains of the deep and the windows of the heavens were closed, the rain from the heavens was restrained, and the waters receded from the earth continually." Genesis 8:1-3

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