the beauty of erosion

May 11, 2015  •  3 Comments

The word erosion, from the Latin erodere (meaning to eat away), carries negative connotations, particularly in the western United States where overgrazing has created severe cases with frightening consequences.  But erosion is also nature's way of shaping and forming the earth, eating away at the strata.  You can witness the effects of water and wind almost everywhere.  One of the best known examples is the Grand Canyon.  In New Mexico, the Rio Grande Gorge (below) is another.

Rio Grande Gorge-1Rio Grande Gorge-1 El Malpais National Monument near Grants, New Mexico, is under constant construction, courtesy of wind.  Details of hoodoos there make other-worldly backdrops suitable for science fiction/fantasy book cover art and movie posters.

El Malpais fantasyscapeEl Malpais fantasyscape Overgrazing, combined with wind and water, tends to carve the land, creating arroyos that frequently are vertical rather than horizontal, such as in the O'Keefe country landscape near Abiquiu.

O'Keefe Country geologyO'Keefe Country geology Erosion works on human construction as well.  There is a reason adobe bricks need to be stuccoed or plastered.  Water develops adobe character in a real hurry, leaving hoodoos in its wake.

Adobe hoodoos 2Adobe hoodoos 2

Perhaps the human character is also shaped by erosion.  Topic for another time...

until next Monday,


a passion for the [email protected]



Daryl Black(non-registered)
Thanks, CM and Steve for your comments! Planet Earth is quite the place, isn't it? The whole package slays me!
The gorge is one of my all time favorite photos of yours, so iconic, perfect light & composition. Love the human quality of the bricks. Characters all with stories to tell.
Steve Immel(non-registered)
Something to ponder, the erosion of the humans character. There's a lot of that going around I'm thinking.

As to the images, these admirably illustrate the shaping of the natural world by erosion. The contrast of the rift, the striations of O'Keefe country and melting adobe are most apt.
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