Awesome Science

Arches National Park & Bridges Nat. Monument Pt1

Three Angels Broadcasting Network

Program transcript



Series Code: ASB

Program Code: ASB000112A

00:04 And comes from the DVD series, "Awesome Science"
00:10 NOAH JUSTICE: In eastern Utah, in the Colorado River Basin,
00:13 is a national park and a monument,
00:16 both with very unique but similar features.
00:19 Arches National Park has over 2,000 arches
00:23 formed in sandstone.
00:25 The arches range in size from very large to super small.
00:29 Some scientists say that these arches
00:31 formed over millions of years.
00:34 But at the rate they are eroding away,
00:36 this long time period would be improbable.
00:39 Then, just south of arches, is Natural Bridges National
00:43 Monument where three massive rock ridges
00:46 are found in White Canyon.
00:48 They are some of the largest natural bridges in the world.
00:52 Yet, there is no river that runs through this canyon.
00:55 Flash floods are supposed to be the erosion agent.
00:59 But again, the time frame that they
01:01 used to determine the ages of these awesome natural bridges
01:05 doesn't match the rate of erosion.
01:07 Some other mechanism with faster erosion rates was at work.
01:12 In addition, at the bottom of one of these bridges
01:15 is a mysterious figure drawn by ancient settlers which
01:18 gives hints of early animals in the southwest, specifically
01:22 what looks like a sauropod dinosaur.
01:25 Let's explore these parks and find out
01:27 how the Bible gives us hints about their formation and age.
01:32 All this and more, next on "Awesome Science."
01:41 "Awesome Science" takes you on a field trip
01:44 to some of the most amazing geologic and historic sites
01:47 around the world, where we used the Bible as our history
01:51 guidebook to interpret what we see, that Bible can be trusted,
01:55 and empirical science falls in line
01:57 with the biblical account of creation,
01:59 the fall, and the flood.
02:02 Science, it's awesome.
02:04 [music playing]
02:15 In the southwest part of the United States,
02:17 on the border of Utah and Colorado,
02:20 is one of the most amazing and unique national parks
02:24 in the country.
02:25 Sitting on almost 80,000 acres, it
02:28 is the largest concentration of natural bridges in the country,
02:32 containing more than 2,000 of these fascinating geologic
02:36 formations.
02:37 Over 43 arches have collapsed since 1977.
02:42 So the number of arches is decreasing.
02:45 In addition to the arches are incredible
02:47 balanced rocks, spires, pinnacles,
02:50 and slick rock domes.
02:52 More than 700,000 visitors cruise the roads
02:56 in the park each year with plenty of stops
02:58 for viewing and hiking.
03:01 The park sits between 4,000 and 5,600 feet above sea level
03:05 near Moab, Utah.
03:07 The arches are thought to have been
03:09 the result of water erosion.
03:11 But the nearest sea is more than 700 miles away and a mile lower
03:16 in elevation.
03:18 The park receives an average of 10 inches of rain a year.
03:22 But scientific research has shown
03:24 this area received a lot more precipitation in the past.
03:28 These facts give us hints as to what processes
03:31 might have been involved in creating
03:33 these amazing formations.
03:35 [music playing]
03:39 Signs around the park present a prehistoric past millions
03:43 of years old, based on the theories of geologic evolution
03:47 and naturalism.
03:49 The rich history of petroglyphs and pictographs
03:52 on the rocks in the park is evidence
03:54 that humans lived here since the ice age about 4,000 years ago.
03:59 Petroglyphs are motifs that are pecked, ground, incised,
04:03 abraded, or scratched on the rock surface.
04:07 Pictographs are paintings or drawings
04:09 in one or more colors using mineral pigments and plant
04:12 dyes on the rocks surface.
04:15 From the discovery of ancient dwellings in the park,
04:18 it is thought that the Fremont and Anasazi people lived here
04:21 as recently as 700 years ago.
04:24 The arches area became more well-known
04:27 when a railroad manager and a photographer
04:29 visited the area in 1923 to scout it for a possible tourist
04:34 destination.
04:36 Their research provided outsiders with a glimpse
04:39 to an amazing geologic wonderland.
04:42 In just a few years, the Park Service
04:44 got involved and considered making it a national monument.
04:49 Initially, President Calvin Coolidge
04:51 was resistant to the idea.
04:53 So in 1929, the newly elected President Herbert Hoover
04:57 was presented with the idea.
04:59 He quickly signed the proclamation
05:01 for making this area a national monument, reserving 1,920 acres
05:07 in the Windows area and 2,600 acres in the Devil's Garden
05:12 area.
05:13 The idea behind the national monument
05:15 was to protect the arches, spires,
05:18 and other formations for scientific and educational
05:22 value.
05:23 Over the years, various presidents
05:25 such as Roosevelt, Eisenhower, and Johnson
05:28 signed additional proclamations to enlarge the park.
05:32 Eventually, it became the size we see today--
05:35 almost 80,000 acres.
05:37 [music playing]
05:42 There are more than 2,000 arches in the park, mainly contained
05:46 in the Entrada Sandstone and the Navajo Sandstone layers.
05:50 As we begin to study these formations,
05:52 a good question to ask is what makes an arch an arch?
05:58 First of all, the opening must measure
06:00 at least three feet across.
06:02 But the height can vary.
06:04 Secondly, the arch can stand independently
06:06 or be a part of a rock system.
06:09 On the other hand, natural bridges
06:11 tend to be at the bottoms of canyons.
06:14 The largest in the park is Landscape Arch, spanning over
06:17 306 feet.
06:20 It's longer than a football field from base to base.
06:23 But it is not the world's largest.
06:26 The Fairy Bridge in China measures over 400 feet
06:29 in length and 121 feet high.
06:33 Most of the world's largest arches
06:35 are in Utah, with a few others in Africa and China.
06:39 According to naturalist, new arches are constantly forming.
06:43 But no one has ever actually seen an arch form.
06:48 What we do see are many arches occasionally collapsing
06:51 over the past few decades.
06:53 Most recently, the Wall Arch collapsed in 2008.
06:58 According to the Natural Arch and Bridge Society,
07:01 there are five observable attributes that
07:03 are used to classify arches.
07:06 The first is contextual, which takes into consideration
07:09 the aspects of the surroundings in which the natural arch
07:12 occurs.
07:14 This could be desert or jungle, coastal or inland.
07:18 The second observation, called morphologic,
07:21 takes into account the general shape and orientation
07:24 of various parts of the natural arch.
07:26 What is the angle of the arch?
07:29 Is it more straight or curved?
07:32 How thick and wide is it?
07:34 Third, the metrics of the arch, meaning
07:37 what is the size of various parts of the natural arch?
07:41 This would involve different numbers
07:43 of thickness and angles.
07:46 Fourth, one must consider the geologic observations
07:49 such as the types of rocks and/or the geologic formation
07:53 the natural arch occurs in.
07:55 Finally, there is the anthropomorphic classification.
07:59 This takes into account the perceived relationship
08:02 between the natural arch and man.
08:05 For instance, have humans called the arch a natural window
08:08 or natural tunnel?
08:10 Most of the time, this attribute requires
08:13 the subjective judgment of the observer
08:15 and can mean different things to different people.
08:18 [music playing]
08:23 When coming to Arches, the main entrance for the park
08:26 is on the south side, near Moab, Utah.
08:29 After climbing in elevation, you quickly
08:32 come to the Courthouse Towers.
08:34 This includes Sheep Rock, Three Gossips, the Organ,
08:37 and the Tower of Babel.
08:40 These incredible steep cliffs of sandstone showcase erosional
08:44 remnants that remind you of Monument Valley
08:46 further to the south.
08:48 As you make your way north, you travel
08:50 through the petrified dunes on your right and the Great Wall
08:54 to your left.
08:55 Just about everywhere you go on the main road
08:58 holds amazing views.
09:00 There are plenty of pull outs for you to park and hike
09:03 around the formations.
09:05 Further north are amazing spires with single rocks balanced
09:09 on the top.
09:10 Side roads lead to some of the more famous locations
09:13 in the park, including Double Arch and Delicate Arch.
09:18 Near the north part of the park, you
09:20 enter through an incredible formation of rocks
09:23 called the Fiery Furnace.
09:25 Over the years, water and wind erosion
09:27 have worn down the sandstone into a huge collection
09:31 of spires and fins.
09:33 Finally, the road ends at the Devil's Garden,
09:36 where an easy trail guides you through fins
09:39 of rock and plenty of arches.
09:41 [music playing]
09:45 There's debate among scientists how these arches were
09:48 formed-- by wind or by water?
09:50 But what does the evidence really show?
09:53 Secular scientists claim 300 million years ago
09:57 an inland sea covered this area 29 different times,
10:00 leaving behind salt beds thousands of feet thick.
10:04 They say that 150 million years ago, the soft, red sandstone
10:08 was deposited.
10:10 Sand and boulders were carried down by streams and wind
10:13 from the uplands, eventually covering the salt beds.
10:17 There is evidence that rock over a mile
10:19 thick has been eroded from above this area.
10:22 What's left is revealed in these amazing rock formations
10:26 that we see today.
10:28 Because the salt layers underneath
10:30 are less dense than the overlying blanket of rock
10:33 pressing down on it, parts of the salt layers
10:36 have been squeezed up, arching upwards through the overlying
10:39 layers, forming into domes and ridges with valleys in between.
10:44 Eventually, ground water supposedly
10:46 wore away many of the salt deposits.
10:50 The sandstone collapsed and weathered
10:52 into a maze of vertical rock slabs called fins.
10:56 Wind and water attacked these fins
10:58 until, in some, the cementing material
11:01 gave way and chunks of rock tumbled out.
11:04 Many damaged fins collapsed.
11:07 Others with the right degree of hardness and balance
11:10 survived, despite their missing sections.
11:13 These became the famous arches.
11:16 Most freestanding rock arches are
11:18 believed to have formed without stream erosion.
11:21 A natural bridge is classified as spanning a valley.
11:25 An arch just spans ridges or the sides of a ridge.
11:29 Secular Geologists have estimated
11:31 it took about 70,000 years of water, frost,
11:35 and wind, operating in a dry climate,
11:37 to form isolated Delicate Arch in the park.
11:41 It's a good thing that earthquakes are rare here.
11:44 Because otherwise, these massive rock sculptures
11:47 would splinter and collapse.
11:49 [music playing]
11:53 The origin of freestanding arches
11:55 is a mystery to naturalists when they use their uniformitarian
11:59 principle to interpret the evidence.
12:02 This principle says that current observable processes have
12:06 gone on for millions of years and can explain
12:09 everything we see in nature.
12:11 They often deny or ignore quick catastrophic processes
12:15 for geologic formations.
12:18 But if we use current erosion rates,
12:20 these arches should have weathered and collapsed
12:23 long ago.
12:24 In other words, these arches are collapsing
12:27 at a much greater rate than they supposedly formed.
12:31 What's even more of a challenge to the secular idea
12:34 is that we don't see any arches forming today.
12:37 They are only destroyed.
12:40 In fact, in August 2008, the 12th largest arch
12:43 in the park, Wall Arch, collapsed.
12:46 And more continued to be threatened by collapse.
12:49 So how can so many arches be here
12:52 if there are millions of years old?
12:55 At the current rate, most would have disappeared not long ago.
12:59 The millions of years is just an imaginary number based
13:03 on naturalism, not solid facts.
13:06 The long processes that should have formed these arches
13:09 would have been beaten by rates of erosion.
13:12 These amazingly beautiful freestanding arches
13:15 seem to be a relic of past geologic processes,
13:19 a process that formed them by some mechanism using
13:22 quick erosion.
13:24 Is there any event in the past that
13:26 matches this type of process?
13:28 [music playing]
13:32 The Bible tells us that by day 150,
13:35 the entire Earth was covered in water.
13:38 Huge shifts in the crust and massive sedimentary layers
13:42 made life below the waters incredibly catastrophic.
13:47 Hot, salty, volcanic waters gushed from inside the Earth.
13:51 On contact with the cooler surging flood waters,
13:54 the salts rapidly fell out of solution.
13:57 So the massive layers of salt and sandstone
14:01 were laid down in a matter of days
14:03 over large swaths of land, some layers spanning
14:06 entire continents.
14:09 As the mountains rose after day 150, very large sheets of water
14:13 began to run across the landscape,
14:15 eroding entire sheets of sediments.
14:19 Even secular scientists agree that the arches area
14:22 was covered by thousands of feet of sediment
14:24 at some point in the past then eroded away
14:28 throughout the Colorado River basin.
14:32 As the water flow lessened toward the end of the flood,
14:35 it started channelising and landscaping,
14:37 cutting away even more of the softer sediments.
14:41 One theory is that this channelising phase
14:44 could have helped cut some of the arches, similar to how
14:47 natural bridges are formed.
14:49 But this isn't the only idea proposed by scientists.
14:53 The fact that bridges and arches are not forming today,
14:56 but have formed at a high rate in the past,
14:59 would give good motivation for believing
15:02 in catastrophic processes such as the global flood
15:05 as described in the Bible.
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15:17 all from a Biblical worldview.
15:19 Awesome Science is our kids series hosted by Noah Justice
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15:57 A recent lab experiment at Charles University in Prague
16:01 might also give clues for another model
16:03 of how the arches formed.
16:06 In this experiment, scientists submerged a piece of sandstone
16:09 in water.
16:10 A weight was put on top of the sandstone.
16:13 Then a funny thing happened.
16:15 The water began to erode the softer parts
16:17 of the submerged sandstone.
16:19 But the harder parts of the sandstone
16:21 stayed, causing an underwater arch to form.
16:24 This experiment would fit well with the flood model.
16:28 During the first 150 days of the flood,
16:31 water would have laid down the sandstones quickly.
16:34 They would have been saturated with water
16:36 while additional sediments were deposited
16:39 on top of the sandstone.
16:41 In this model, arches would have formed
16:43 in these sediment layers.
16:45 As the flood waters receded, massive sheet erosion
16:48 would have taken off the top layers
16:50 and some of the sandstone underneath, leaving the arches.
16:54 Because of natural erosion over the past 4,000 years,
16:58 the arches would have naturally become smaller and fewer,
17:01 leaving only the 2,000 that we find in the park today.
17:05 When we use a catastrophic model to build arches,
17:09 the observations make a lot more sense, rather than
17:12 the slow and gradual processes proposed by naturalists.
17:16 Arches National Park, a great testament to the global flood.
17:21 Even though it was a global destruction,
17:23 God left some pretty great formations for us
17:27 to admire today.
17:29 Science, it's awesome.
17:31 [music playing]
17:35 In the southwest corner of Utah, just 120 miles south
17:40 of Arches National Park, is another peculiar site
17:43 where water erosion has made some fascinating features
17:47 in White Canyon, also known as Natural Bridges National
17:51 Monument.
17:52 The features at Natural Bridges are primarily
17:55 different than that at Arches in that they form in a canyon,
17:58 rather than on a plane.
18:01 Even though they are different, it
18:02 is believed that water erosion was also
18:05 the cause of these formations.
18:07 The monument contains three large natural bridges
18:11 and has the seventh largest natural bridge in the world.
18:16 The three bridges are the Sipapu, Kachina,
18:19 and Owachomo, all of which are Hopi Indian names.
18:23 Inside the monument, ancient Indians
18:26 left evidence for their residence.
18:28 Just like it Mesa Verde, cliff dwellings and petroglyphs
18:31 dot the canyon walls.
18:34 One particular etching has drawn international attention
18:37 because it looks a lot like a sauropod dinosaur.
18:41 The natural bridges range in height
18:44 from 106 feet to 220, with spans as long as 268 feet.
18:51 There's no permanent river here carving this canyon.
18:54 There's only periodic flash floods, something much bigger
18:57 must have carved these bridges.
18:59 [music playing]
19:03 The earliest documented exploration of this canyon
19:07 happened in 1893.
19:09 Cass Hite was on a gold prospecting hunt
19:12 close to his camp on the Colorado River.
19:15 He took word back to the towns and cities
19:17 about this amazing landscape.
19:20 Then in 1904, the National Geographic magazine
19:24 publicized the natural bridges.
19:27 Just four years later, President Theodore Roosevelt
19:30 designated it as a national monument.
19:33 In fact, it was Utah's first national monument.
19:37 But actually, Cass was not the first to discover this canyon.
19:42 It is thought by anthropologists that the Anasazi Indians
19:45 occupied this area between 500 BC and 1270 AD,
19:50 similar to the time period of their occupation at Mesa Verde.
19:55 The earliest inhabitants probably lived in pit houses
19:59 on the mesa tops, while the later Anasazi
20:02 built cliff dwellings that can still be seen today.
20:05 For decades, the valley was only accessible by horseback--
20:09 a three day ride from the nearest settlement.
20:13 Then in the 1950s, the uranium boom
20:16 resulted in the creation of new roads into the area.
20:20 And eventually, a state highway was paved in 1976.
20:25 Today, thousands of people visit it every year
20:28 to enjoy the amazing views, challenging hiking trails,
20:32 and to study the Native American art.
20:35 [music playing]
20:39 After you pass the visitor's center
20:41 on the east side of the park, you enter the nine-mile bridge
20:45 view drive loop.
20:47 The first natural bridge you come to
20:49 is Sipapu bridge, the fourth largest in the world
20:53 at 220 feet high and 268 feet wide.
20:59 It's so big, the opening would almost
21:01 house the dome of the United States Capitol Building.
21:05 Only three natural bridges in China have larger spans.
21:10 Trail heads at the parking lot allow you to hike down
21:13 underneath each bridge.
21:15 The trails are rated medium to difficult,
21:17 so use caution when hiking.
21:20 The next natural bridge you come to is Kachina.
21:24 It spans the canyon equidistant from both the Owachomo
21:28 and Sipapu bridges.
21:30 It's larger than the Owachomo, but smaller than the Sipapu,
21:34 showing that canyons are dynamic rather than static.
21:38 In June 1992, approximately 4,000 tons of sandstone
21:43 fell from the inside of Kachina Bridge.
21:47 It enlarged the opening even more,
21:49 as it has doubtless been enlarged time and time again.
21:53 Government surveyor William Douglas
21:55 dubbed the bridge Kachina when he found petroglyphs
21:58 and pictographs depicting dancing figures carved
22:01 on the base of the bridge.
22:03 Douglas assumed the ancestral Puebloan people
22:07 who left the ancient rock art were related
22:09 to the present-day Hopi people and the painted and carved
22:12 figures represented Kachina dancers.
22:16 Kachina Bridge is thought to be the youngest of the three
22:19 and unlike the others, is situated along the watercourse
22:22 of the canyon.
22:24 Kachina is more difficult to spot from the highway
22:27 and requires the longest walk to reach it.
22:30 Finally, the last natural bridge is Owachomo.
22:34 Owachomo is the smallest and thinnest
22:37 of the three natural bridges.
22:39 It is commonly thought to be the oldest.
22:41 But in reality, age between the three is hard to tell.
22:46 Regardless of its relative age, it
22:48 is certainly the most fragile and elegant of the three spans,
22:52 with only nine feet of thickness at the top.
22:55 It is an awe-inspiring feature of erosion.
22:59 Owachomo means "round mound" in Hopi,
23:02 being named after the rock formation
23:04 on top of the east end of the bridge.
23:07 Before William Douglas gave it this name in 1908,
23:11 it was called Edwin or Little Bridge.
23:15 The park has also become known as one of the world's least
23:18 light-polluted night skies.
23:21 The International Dark Sky Association
23:23 named Natural Bridges the world's first International
23:26 Dark Sky Park.
23:29 Even though it's a bit out of the way of most tourist spots,
23:32 Natural Bridges National Monument
23:34 is a must see, especially if you feel up to hike.
23:38 Standing beneath these bridges is truly an awesome sight.
23:42 [music playing]
23:46 Much of this area in Utah and the Four Corners
23:49 region of the United States is made up
23:52 of sedimentary layers of sandstone.
23:55 Just to the southwest of Natural Bridges
23:57 is the Grand Canyon, were some catastrophic event
24:05 This whole region is part of the Grand Staircase, a 10,000 foot
24:10 sequence of strata that has been revealed through erosion.
24:14 These sandstone layers are known to cover entire continents,
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25:40 [music playing]


Revised 2018-03-22