Even though Nevada is usually thought of as another typical desert state like Utah and Arizona, geologically it is very different.  Nevada contains none of the vast Colorado Plateau, which stretches over four states with its great sandstone outcrops that are perfect for making arches.  Instead, it is almost entirely within the Great Basin, a giant area ringed with mountains, where no rivers can ever reach the sea.  But numerous small but picturesque arches are found in the Valley of Fire State Park near Las Vegas.  And the Great Basin National Park contains a spectacular and rare limestone arch. 


Lexington Arch -- Great Basin National Park
One of the world's most imposing limestone arches, the Lexington Arch seems to be where it is for no good reason at all, standing high and mighty far above the plain below  Some think it was once the opening to a cave, since typical cavern flowstone has been found below the arch -- but there is nothing on the other side of the arch but a drop-off.  Some even say it is a natural bridge, even though it is very high above the little canyon stream nearby.  We may not ever figure it out for sure, but one thing is sure -- it's the grandest arch in Nevada, and one of the most unique in all the west.


Lava Bubble -- Valley of Fire State Park
     Sometimes the view from an arch is more impressive than the arch itself.  This is one of many tiny, picturesque, unnamed arches in the park.  The rock was shaped like an igloo, and this is the window you crawl through to get inside.  I used a flash here on the inside of the window, but the view outside is natural color -- the color of the rock at sunset is how the park got its name.


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