Thursday, September 15, 2016

Mind if I squeeze through here?

Cathedral Gorge State Park near Panaca, Nevada, doesn't really fit my picture of a gorge. And the "caves" there, with their open tops, are more like slot canyons. But they're pretty neat.

For scale, that formation in the middle is about ten feet high

The eroded bluff where the "caves" are

The gaps are a little wider than a person and about thirty to fifty feet high


  1. In the close up shot, they appear brittle. That's probably not the case though.

    1. "A majority of Meadow Valley (which lies along U.S. Route 93 from the towns of Caliente to Panaca) was covered by a freshwater lake nearly 1 million years ago during the Pliocene Era. The richly colored canyons of Cathedral Gorge (called the Panaca Formation) are remnants of this ancient lakebed. Over centuries, the lake began to gradually drain. Erosion began working away at the exposed portions of sediment and gravel that once composed the lake bottom. Rainwater and melting snow carved rivulets in the soft siltstone and clay shale, splitting tiny cracks and fissures into larger and larger gullies and canyons."

      So it's siltstone (a new term to me) and clay shale. The surface of the stuff is a little powdery. It seems like it would crumble more than sandstone. Even though the shapes were cause by erosion, there are some areas that look like they were formed by sand dribbling.

  2. Sand dribbling must be like water torture for rocks. Thanks for the info.