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La Ventana Arch -- El Malpais Natl Mon., NM
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member Benchmark Blasterz
N 34° 52.347 W 107° 53.392
13S E 235846 N 3862709
Quick Description: The amazing La Ventana Arch at El Malpais National Monument south of Grants NM
Location: New Mexico, United States
Date Posted: 8/21/2014 6:28:45 PM
Waymark Code: WMMADG
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member bluesnote
Views: 3

Long Description:
La Ventana Arch is the second-largest natural arch in New Mexico. It is well worth the drive through the awesome El Malpais National Monument. The best view of the arch is at the end of a short, graveled walking trail.

From the Four Corners Geotourism website: (visit link)

"This is a world class arch! It faces southwest so the lighting can be even more spectacular after noon in the fall, winter, and spring. Pull off the highway for an easy view of New Mexico's second tallest arch. Enjoy a panoramic vista of the contact between Jurassic desert sand dunes of the Zuni Sandstone and the overlaying Cretaceous Dakota Sandstone. A visible white stripe near the 200 foot cliff top separates the two units and marks an unconformity, a missing rock record of over 60 million years.

By Cretaceous time the local climate had shifted dramatically wetter as evidenced by the many fossilized invertebrate burrows. At times the CO2 levels were more than double those of today.

Curious how the arch formed? Thinking freeze-thaw? You're getting warm. It's from the daily temperature swings of over 50F on the rock's surface throughout the year. The sandstone expands in the day and cracks apart from the still cool rock hidden behind. The rock at the base and in the center was under the greatest stress and failed first. Rocks on either side failed too somewhat symmetrically. The load from the overlying rock and the ensuing cracking apart lessened upwards. Over time this created an arc that climbed as more rock failed and collapsed.

Can you picture it happening? Hint: Try standing at the trail at the base of the arch for the best view. Can you find what may have once been an earlier arch, that has since collapsed? Arch formation is a very slow process, so there's still time to view the spectacle. Passing motorists occasionally stop for the vault toilets or to picnic. Fewer walk the 100 yard paved then gravel trail up to the base of the arch. Possible wildlife sightings, birdlife, wildflowers, a photo spot of the arch - which is revealed as a natural bridge - and interpretive signs await those that venture closer."
Photo of the Arch by itself?: no

Type of Arch: Water Eroded

Type of Material:
sandstone that is very susceptible to freeze-thaw forces that enhance the arch

Visit Instructions:
You must post a picture of you with a GPSr or Geocaching/Waymarking attire/equipment and the subject arch in the background.
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Recent Visits/Logs:
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b&ladventures visited La Ventana Arch -- El Malpais Natl Mon., NM 4/7/2015 b&ladventures visited it
Benchmark Blasterz visited La Ventana Arch -- El Malpais Natl Mon., NM 8/23/2014 Benchmark Blasterz visited it
Geojeepsters visited La Ventana Arch -- El Malpais Natl Mon., NM 5/24/2014 Geojeepsters visited it

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