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Goblin Valley State Park

Goblin Valley SP is one of the most isolated of Utah’s state parks.  Just to the east is the ridgeline of San Rafael Swell, and to the south are the Henry Mountains.

Goblin Valley SP regional map

Goblin Valley SP regional map

The Goblin Valley rocks visible today and exposed by erosion were formed of the silts, sands and clays which make up the Entrada Sandstone deposited by intermittent shallow seas in the Middle to Late Jurassic period.  The lighter grey rocks above the Entrada Sandstone are part of the geological layer called the Curtis Formation.

Both the Entrada Sandstone (red) and the Curtis Formation (greenish-grey) can be clearly seen.

Both the Entrada Sandstone (red) and the Curtis Formation (greenish-grey) can be clearly seen.

Joints (vertical cracks) in the Entrada Sandstone formed in a grid-like pattern similar to those which formed in Bryce NP.  Wind and rain produced rounded goblins in a process called spheroidal weathering.  Over time, old goblins topple and wear away while new ones are eroded into view.  Here is a close-up of a goblin showing the different layers and consistencies of these structures.

Goblin and Moon

Goblin and Moon

We were lucky enough to arrive in late afternoon and had sufficient time to enjoy the goblins before sunset.  The setting sun produced amazing changes in the landscape.  This next photo shows a sunset line and strong shadows which moved quickly with the dropping sunlight.

Sunset Illumination

Sunset Illumination

Here is another shot of the Entrada Sandstone partially illuminated by the sunset.

Sunset on the Entrada Sandstone shapes.

Sunset on the Entrada Sandstone shapes.

Finally, the setting sun dropped behind the horizon and only lit the tops of high clouds.

Last Light

Last Light

I look forward to my next visit, when I’d love to see these entrancing shapes in the light of a full moon!

References:

Goblin Valley SP

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Mark Bobb

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