May 10, 2012

What is a hoodoo?

When visitors come to Bryce Canyon or Cedar Breaks National Monument, they come to see the curious geological features called hoodoos. Also called goblins, tent rocks, fairy chimneys, and demoiselles coiffees (ladies with hairdos), these unique formations capture the fascination and imagination of people worldwide.  According to Paiute mythology, the hoodoos of Bryce Canyon are Legend People who the trickster coyote turned to stone.  They were called “Anka-ku-was-awits” which means “red painted faces.”

Bryce Canyon has one of the world’s highest concentrations of hoodoos which can range from 5-150 feet.  Some of the most famous examples are: Thor’s Hammer, Queen Victoria, and The Hunter.

These magnificent structures are composed of soft sedimentary rock that was topped with harder, less easily eroded stone that protects the column from the elements.  The brown, pink, and red colors are from the mineral hematite (iron oxide), the yellow from limonite, and purple from pyrolusite.  These colors are even more vibrant after a rain storm, and provide a stark contrast to the gleaming white snow during the winter.  The delicate features are the result of erosion cause by wind, water, and ice.  The erosion rate is 2-4 feet/100 years.

In order to protect these amazing structures for as long as possible, visitors are expected to keep to the designated hiking trails.

Be sure to include Bryce Canyon and Cedar Breaks National Monument in your next Southern Utah adventure.

Filed under: National and State Parks — admin @ 7:26 pm