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Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Goblin Valley, Utah, USA

Goblin Valley is a State Park in Emery County in central Utah, in the western United States. Its eminent feature is its formation of thousands of mushroom-shaped rock pinnacles, some as high as several meters. The distinct shape of these rocks comes from an erosion-resistant layer of rock atop softer sandstone.
Hiking is permitted in the park, which features three marked trails.
Portions of the 1999 film Galaxy Quest were filmed in the park.
The secluded Goblin Valley was first discovered by cowboys searching for cattle. Then in the late 1920s, Arthur Chaffin, owner/operator of the Hite Ferry, and two companions were searching for an alternate route between Green River and Caineville. They came to a vantage point about one mile (1.6 km) west of Goblin Valley and were awed by what they saw – five buttes and a valley of strange-shaped rock formations surrounded by a wall of eroded cliffs. In 1949 Chaffin returned to the area he called 'Mushroom Valley'. He spent several days exploring the mysterious valley and photographing its scores of intricately eroded rocks.
Publicity attracted visitors to the valley despite its remoteness. In 1954 it was proposed that Goblin Valley be protected from vandalism. The state of Utah later acquired the property and established Goblin Valley State Reserve. It was officially designated a state park on August 24, 1964.
The grotesque stone shapes in Goblin Valley result from the weathering of Entrada Sandstone. They consist of debris eroded from former highlands and redeposited on a former tidal flat of alternating layers of sandstone, siltstone and shale. The rocks show evidence of being near an ancient sea with 1) the ebb and flow of tides, 2) tidal channels that directed currents back to the sea and 3) coastal sand dunes.
Vegetation is limited to hardy desert species that can endure blowing sand and hot dry surface conditions. Vegetation and wildlife exist on a limited supply of water in the arid desert environment. Plants have adapted by reducing the size of their leaves to reduce evaporation, with some having a waxy coating on their leaves that reduces water loss. Flora occupying Goblin Valley include Mormon tea (joint fir), Russian thistle, Indian ricegrass, and various cacti. Juniper and pinyon pine grow at slightly higher elevations.
Animals often must travel many miles to find water or else wait for thunderstorms to provide moisture. Most animals in the area are nocturnal, venturing out only in the cooler evenings to hunt and forage for food. Some animals get water from the food they eat and go for weeks without a drink of water. Jack rabbits, scorpions, kangaroo rats, pronghorn antelope, kit foxes, midget faded rattlers, and coyotes are found within and near the park....(more on www.wikipedia.org)

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1 comment:

TB said...

I like your blog. I have never seen goblin valley with snow on it.

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