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Rosetta Stones

Rosetta Stones

Adventures in the good science of rock-breaking.

(Near) Garden of the Gods Reprise: Jackson Falls

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Remember when we visited the Shrooms of the Gods at Garden of the Gods? That's not the only wondrous place formed by the Pounds Sandstone. Reader Heliconia got to visit the area in early spring, and sent us these images from Jackson Falls, just a short distance away:

Jackson Falls. Image credit Heliconia. Image shows a lovely waterfall pouring over a lip of gray sandstone.

Jackson Falls. Image credit Heliconia.

This is a place where geology hasn't just lead to awesome scenery, but excellent rock climbing - and I can tell you from my slickrock days that a good, solid sandstone is very friendly to feet. Great traction as long as you don't hit any badly-weathered bits, or areas where the sand grains have got loose. (This is why you have me here today. If it had been as slick as its colloquial name, I'd have plunged several hundred feet off the mesa I loved running around on!)

Knowing how much we love our rocks, Heliconia grabbed us some excellent shots of them. Here's a lovely sandstone ledge peeking through the forest:

Ledge o' Sandstone. Image credit Heliconia. This image shows a leaf-and-tree-topped low ledge of sandstone, peeking through the forest litter.

Ledge o' Sandstone. Image credit Heliconia.

And a fun square boulder. Note how the sandstone layers weather, making it look a bit like pages of an old book, fallen from a table, left out in the rain.

It could also look like the prow of a ship, eh? Image credit Heliconia. Image shows a large, lichen-covered sandstone boulder lying on the forest floor at an angle. Weathering is revealing the layers within what looks like one block of sandstone.

It could also look like the prow of a ship, eh? Image credit Heliconia

And a cliff with many boulders like it falling off. Sandstone often seems to come apart in great chunks. Jointing and such, y'see. We'll probably have an in-depth discussion on that sometime.

The sandstone sheds. Image credit Heliconia. Image shows a cliff on the left, with many large blocky boulders littered across a gentle slope to the right.

The sandstone sheds. Image credit Heliconia.

This is lovely stuff! Thank you, Heliconia!

I'm always down for some reader-submitted geology. You can find me at Gmail as dhunterauthor.

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.

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