Tuesday, 28 February 2017

The Strange Hoodoos of Goblin Valley State Park, Utah

This could be one of the weird and wonderful places in Utah, United States, is Goblin Valley situated in Emery County between the towns of Green River and Hanksville. In 1954, the property was acquired by the state of Utah and the Goblin Valley State Reserve was established. It was officially designated a state park in 1964. The Goblin valley, is about a mile across and two miles long, filled with thousands of strange hoodoos eroded sandstone rocks, carved by the wind and the water into shapes signifying mythical goblins and other phantasmagoric creatures. The most remarkable formations are three isolated hoodoos, huge in size, standing on top of a narrow ridge, enclosed by the flat, grassy land that extends for miles around. The strange hoodoos were formed by the erosion of the so-called “Entrada sandstone”, which was formed during the Jurassic period somewhere between 190 and 140 million years ago.

This area was situated next to an ancient sea. These strange shapes were created due to “Entrada sandstone” is made up of different kinds of sedimentary rocks having different levels of hardness, causing the rocks to erode at different rates. Therefore, the softer rock material eroded more rapidly, sendoff the harder rock behind in the shape of “goblins”. A trip to this strange and colorful valley is unlike any other place in Utah. The landscape, covered with sandstone goblins and formations, is often compared to Mars. Explore the geology, and camp among the nooks and gnomes. Moreover, the secluded Goblin Valley was first unearthed by cowboys searching for their cattle. In the late 1920s, “Arthur Chaffin”, the later owner of the Hite Ferry, along with his companions were searching for an alternate route between Green River and Caineville, when they came to an old point around 1 mile west of Goblin Valley. The Chaffin and his friends were awed by what they saw five buttes and a valley of strange, goblin-shaped rock formations fenced by a wall of eroded cliffs. It was given the name of Mushroom Valley by Chaffin. However, he returned to it in 1949 and consumed numerous days exploring the secretive valley and photographing its scores of intricately eroded rocks.

Moreover, vegetation is limited to hardy desert species that can endure blowing sand and hot dry surface conditions exist on a limited supply of water in the arid desert environment. Animals every so often travel several miles to find water or else wait for thunderstorms to provide moisture. Mostly Jack rabbits, kangaroo, scorpions, rats, kit foxes, pronghorns, midget faded rattlers, lizards, and coyotes are found within and near the park. The Goblin Valley is a most liked destination for film makers. Though Goblin Valley is a wonderful place to hike around and ogle at the goblins, however, take care to leave no trace and respect the space! If you ever plan to visit Goblin Valley yourself, the park offers a short naturalist-guided hike called "The Fallen Goblin," which is inspired by the incident.

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