Thursday, January 10, 2013

Tonto Natural Bridge

Located near Payson, Arizona, the Tonto Natural Bridge is the world's largest travertine bridge. As its name implies, this is a naturally-forming bridge, composed of a type of limestone deposited by mineral springs, particularly hot springs. The water is highly alkaline and contains particles of calcium carbonate in it, which settles and coats surfaces. Algae and vegetation roots help provide structural support for the aerial deposit of the travertine, much like how icicles form. The terraced Mammoth Hot Springs at Yellowstone is another, more famous example of a travertine formation.  The bridge is 183 feet high, standing over a 400 foot long tunnel that is 150 feet at its widest point. 
The park has several hiking trails and some picnic benches - perfect for our winter lunch!

 At one time the water gushed down to help form the bridge. Now it trickles down.
The icicles formed on the rock and dead tree were beautiful and helped complete a slightly other-worldly effect.

No comments: