Decoding The Language of Stone: A CNHA Discovery Pool Project
CNHA Discovery Pool Topic: Gravitational stress analysis of natural rock arches.
Research question: How do gravitational stresses in natural arch forms vary with geometry? Can a metric be developed that allows comparison among arches with different scale and form?
Jeffrey Moore, PhD, University of Utah, Department of Geology & Geophysics
We hypothesize that arches shaped like beams (e.g. Little Bridge Arch) will have corresponding low principle stress ratios while those shaped like an inverted catenary (e.g. Delicate Arch) will have high principle stress ratios.
Rock arches are dynamic, sensitive, and fragile landforms, and are constantly broadcasting their state of health; we need only listen with the right set of tools to experience and begin to interpret this language. The iconic arches of Utah’s red rock desert are constantly in motion, trembling in resonance with the forces of the Earth. The natural frequencies of vibration are in turn controlled by geometry and material properties and combine to reveal a distinct vibrational fingerprint unique to every landform. Sped up and amplified, we can now experience these vibrations as sound, hearing the hidden voice of Utah’s red rock icons and forming the basis for a new, non-invasive method of structural health monitoring. Our team measures the ambient vibration of prominent rock arches and towers in Utah. Our results help inform questions of conservation and public safety for some of the world’s most revered geological landmarks and provide a new way for visitors to engage with these dynamic rock formations aiming to inspire a spirit of respect and care.
Specific aims of the Discovery Pool Project
- Collect and organize all 3D eigenfrequency models used in past vibration simulations.
- Reconfigure models for static stress analysis under gravitational self-weight.
- Analyze gravitational stress conditions for each arch, comparing compressive and tensile stresses and their spatial distributions.
- Analyze statistical distributions of stresses for all arches.
- Create and explore metrics that summarize stress conditions and allow comparison across different features.
- Evaluate summary metrics in relation to arch geometry, e.g. comparing to end-member synthetic models for a flat beam and inverted catenary.
Check out this fascinating video on the results of Dr. Moore’s research and listen to an arch!
Join CNHA at the Discovery Pool Level
Moab Information Center
2021 Lecture Series
Canyonlands Natural History Association (CNHA) ~ Moab Museum
Thursday’s @ 5:00 p.m. Outside on the Patio
June 10 ~ Walt Dabney ~ Public Lands: Where, Why and How?
July 22 ~ Jeff Moore ~ Vibration and the lifecycle of natural arches: decoding the language of stone
Annual Climbing Closures Announced
Annual Notice of Climbing Closures and Regulations for Arches and Canyonlands National Parks
MOAB, UT— In order to protect critical wildlife habitat for raptors and desert bighorn sheep, a number of climbing routes in Canyonlands and Arches national parks will close for up to six months each year. This temporary closure affects the following routes:
Canyonlands National Park
- Century Crack, Witness the Wilderness, Necronomicon (Book of the Dead), Army of Darkness, Chip and Dale Towers, and Candlestick Tower: closed March 1 – August 31.
- Charlie Horse Needle, Moses and Zeus, Airport Tower, Washer Woman, and Monster Tower: closed March 15 – August 15.
For more information about climbing in Canyonlands please follow this link.
Arches National Park
- Harkonnen Castle (Dune), Canyonlands by Night, El Secondo, The Coup, Crohn’s Wall (Left Route, Crohn’s Odyssey, Project One, Project Two), Klondike Bluffs Crack, The Bouquet (Route One & Route Two), Cuddle Bunny Tower, False Start, North Marcher, Sand Hearse, Unknown Marching Men, Fun Ramp, The Hyena, Trail of the Navajo, Pop Tarts, and Escape Route: closed March 1 – August 31.
- The Three Penguins (all routes) and Tonka Tower: closed March 1 – August 15.
- The Pickle: closed April 1 – August 31.
- Industrial Disease: closed December 1 – September 30.
For more information about climbing in Arches, please follow this link.
For information about canyoneering in Arches, please click here.
During the closure period, park biologists will survey these areas and may reopen routes prior to the scheduled date. Climbers are advised to monitor route status on park websites or by contacting the backcountry office at firstname.lastname@example.org or 435-259-4351.
Self Guided Fiery Furnace Permits Available
Arches and Canyonlands National Parks Announce Expanded Visitor Services
The arrival of spring brings extended hours of operation for Arches and Canyonlands national parks’ visitor centers and the renewed availability of Fiery Furnace permits and backcountry camping permits at Arches.
Arches Visitor Center, Canyonlands’ Island in the Sky Visitor Center, and Canyonlands’ The Needles Visitor Center will operate daily from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Rangers provide orientation and trip-planning assistance on front patios, and park bookstores offer quality educational materials and souvenir items for sale. Theaters and museum exhibits remain closed.
Overnight backcountry permits for Arches National Park will be issued in person only at the Backcountry Permit Office. The Backcountry Permit Office is located two miles south of Moab at 2282 SW Resource Blvd. Permits may be obtained up to seven days before the trip start date and are issued from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. daily (except federal holidays). Each permit is limited to seven people, up to three nights per campsite, for a total of seven nights. Permits cost $7 per person. Backcountry permits for Arches National Park will not be issued at Arches Visitor Center.
Starting May 4, 2021, Self-Guided Fiery Furnace Exploration permits will be available for reservation on www.Recreation.gov or by calling 1-877-444-6777. Permits may be reserved up to seven days in advance and must be reserved at least two days prior to the trip date. Group size is limited to six people and children under age five are not allowed. Permits cost $6 for ages 13 and up, $3 for ages 5-12, and $3 for holders of Interagency Senior Passes or Access Passes. Fiery Furnace permits are valid for a specified date and for day-use only (sunrise to sunset).
Permits reserved in advance must be picked up in person at Arches Visitor Center, between 8:00 a.m. and 10:00 a.m. from the morning before up to the morning of the trip. All members of the hiking party must be present to watch a required educational video. Fiery Furnace Self-Guided Exploration Permits are for private use only; commercial groups are not permitted in the Fiery Furnace.
Devils Canyon Campground Closure
Officials with the Manti-La Sal National Forest will be temporarily closing Devils Canyon Campground on the Monticello Ranger District at the end of May for necessary repairs. The campground will be closed to all campers May 24 thru May 28, 2021 in order for San Juan County Roads department to chip seal the road.
We apologize for the inconvenience, but due to contractor schedules, these were the only available dates. Nearby campgrounds including Nizhoni, Dalton, and Buckboard on the Manti-La Sal remain open for use.
The project is one of several being funded through the Great American Outdoors Act (GAOA), which passed in 2020 and authorizes funding under the Legacy Restoration Fund annually through the fiscal year 2025.
This is an excerpt from the Canyonlands Natural History Association’s Member Newsletter. To find out more about CNHA and how to get your own copy delivered, visit the Canyonlands Natural History Association website.