Sandstone Arches Shaped By Downward Pressure & Erosion, New Study Suggests

July 21, 2014 12:56 PM

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The fantastical arch shapes of sandstone formations have long been thought to be sculpted by wind and rain. But a team of researchers has now found that the shapes are inherent to the rock itself.

“Erosion gets [excess] material out, but doesn’t make the shape,” says Jiri Bruthans, a hydrogeologist at Charles University in Prague, who led the research. Rather, erosion is merely a “tool” that works in combination with more fundamental factors embedded in the rock.

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