Rockbridge Arch - Hocking County, Ohio
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member buffalohiker
N 39° 34.598 W 082° 30.114
17S E 371007 N 4381846
Quick Description: Rockbridge in Rockbridge State Nature Preserve, Hocking County, Ohio. 92-foot span with 40-foot clearance.
Location: Ohio, United States
Date Posted: 5/3/2014 2:13:16 PM
Waymark Code: WMKMR0
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member ReedKyCacheFinders
Views: 2

Long Description:
From the book “Rainbows of Rock, Tables of Stone – The Natural Arches and Pillars of Ohio” by Timothy A. Snyder © 2009:

"Although only two arches have been reported from the Hocking River drainage, one of them is major by any standard. With a span of 92 feet, Rockbridge is the longest natural arch in Ohio with a town named after it. Located at the head of a picturesque gorge leading up from the Hocking River, it has a long history as a tourist attraction. Completion of the Hocking Valley canal paralleling the river made the natural bridge easily accessible, and the construction of the Columbus, Hocking Valley and Toledo Railway along the same route later in the nineteenth century continued the popularity as a picnic site into the early 1900s. Photographs taken of it at this time show that the sheltering forest surrounding the natural bridge had been heavily timbered, making it readily visible from the railroad.

"With the abandonment of the canal and railroad, the bridge lost its accessibility and sank into semi-oblivion. As the forest thickened around it once again, many residents of the nearby town of Rockbridge even forgot that their village was named after a natural feature, believing that the name came from a bridge constructed across the Hocking River. In 1978, 49 acres surrounding the bridge were acquired by the state and dedicated as Rockbridge State Nature Preserve, assuring its continued protection and making it once again a destination point for the curious.

"Rockbridge originated as a typical alcove carved into the soft middle layer of the Black Hand Sandstone at the head of a short, steep-sided valley cut by a small, unnamed tributary of the Hocking River. Three intersecting vertical fractures in the roof of the shelter were gradually enlarged through weathering until the block they surrounded was no longer adequately supported and fell, creating a skylight. Much of this weathering was no doubt due to water from the intermittent stream seeping down into the fractures when its course led across the roof to the rim of the shelter. The angular configuration of the skylight clearly indicates joint control. No large sandstone blocks from the collapsed roof are found on the floor of the shelter, indicating that the rock most likely shattered on impact. The stream which now falls through the skylight would have caused rapid disintegration of any blocks which survived.

"The bridge itself formed the remaining front rim of the alcove roof. It is 3 feet thick and 6 feet wide near its center. Both dimensions increase toward the ends of the lintel, the thickness slight and width dramatically, reaching 26 feet at the west end. There is a 40-foot drop from the top of the lintel to the plunge pool which has been cut 10 feet deep into the hard lower layer of the Black Hand Sandstone forming the floor of the shelter. The part of the alcove which retains its roof is in itself impressive, being almost 40 feet deep. Before the ceiling collapsed, the shelter was nearly 65 feet deep."
Photo of the Arch by itself?: yes

Type of Arch: Water Eroded

Type of Material:

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buffalohiker visited Rockbridge Arch - Hocking County, Ohio 4/23/2014 buffalohiker visited it