What’s The Deal With Columnar Jointing?

Rocks certainly come in a lot of unique shapes and sizes, and one of the most intriguing rocks of all is basalt that displays “columnar jointing.” And one of the most common questions asked about these distinctively–shaped edifices is “How in the heck did this happen?”

Columnar jointing in basalt, Red Cliffs Desert Reserve

Amid all the rocks eroding off the top of the Paunsagunt and Markagunt Plateaus in southern Utah you will find those of colorful Lake Claron. It is not just any old lake, however. This one happens to be around 50 million years old.

Brilliantly hued lake bed sediments of Bryce Canyon National Park

Offered today is a photo journal, images taken during a moment of blissful quiet in Zion National Park late last month. I often volunteer with the park’s educational outreach program during the school year, and I was waiting for my next group of seventh graders to explode down the trail to the habitat station.

012AutumnZion GrottoTrail
I try, I really do try. But it seems that, right now, some things are just beyond my feeble attempts at perfection. In my last post I wrote about Cedar Breaks. I had every intention (and still do – really!) to follow up with a post about its sedimentary cousin Bryce Canyon. But in the meantime I toodled off to Zion for a bit of bird watching along the Virgin River with my birding and biking buddy LucyO.

LucyO looks for anything avian along the Virgin River


Katherine Hanson

Hey there, I'm Katherine Hanson, the curator of watchingforrocks.com, a site dedicated to uncovering the hidden gems of the USA. With a passion for exploration and a love for discovering the beauty in every corner of this vast country, I'm on a mission to share the best cities, national parks, historic landmarks, and entertainment hotspots that the USA has to offer. From towering mountains to bustling cities, there's so much to see and experience. Join me as I embark on adventures and uncover the wonders that make America truly remarkable.
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