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Find-A-Feature: Arch

A rainbow, a backbend, a water fountain...arches can be found in many places, even in rocks! For this Find-A-Feature challenge, we challenge you to look around you for examples of an arch.

This is a photo of Delicate Arch in Arches National Park. A natural arch forms when erosion removes rock, leaving an opening above. This commonly happens along seashores or other places where there is moving water, because water is great at erosion. It starts with a crack, or a weaker rock layer, and erosion does its long slow work of removing that weaker rock. Big chunks can also break off, speeding the process. Eventually it reaches a stable shape, and you have a natural arch. Take a look around. Most arches have a similar shape - it happens to be a very stable shape, where the weight of the rock, or bridge, or building, gets transferred to the outside, and is carried by the "legs" so that even a very heavy center won't collapse. 

Find an arch near you! It doesn't have to be a rock, it can be anything with this shape. Take a photo and share it with our Instagram account @USGS_YES. Use the tags #findafeature #USGS #arch #science. Give your first name or initials, general location, and a brief explanation in the photo caption. We will feature some of your shots on this page!


We'll be watching Instagram and Twitter for some great #findafeature examples and may share them here with the first name or initials of the contributor, and a general location. If you tag us with @USGS_YES you are giving us permission to use your image. Please see the USGS social media sharing policy at: Or, you can e-mail photos to us at and we may share them on this page or on social media. Thanks for participating and for seeing science all around you!