Vertical News: Sandstone Arches Shaped by Stress and Gravity

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Sandstone Arches Shaped by Stress and Gravity

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Uniquely shaped sandstone arches and rock formations, like those found in the state of Utah and other places, are amazingly beautiful and for many years experts assumed their formation was simply the effect of random wind and rain erosion. However, recent research by scientists from Charles University in Prague has found that other factors are at play. Internal stress fields and the pull of gravity determine where and how much material is worn away by erosion.

In the experiment, small cubes of sand were used, put under stress and placed under water. As sand was worn away that which remained was put under greater stress and eventually the grains locked together and ceased to be affected by erosion. Using these basic factors, researchers were able to re-create some of the formations seen in the natural world (Jonathan Webb, “Sandstone Shapes ‘Forged by Gravity,’” BBC News at, July 21, 2014).

God set laws of physics and nature in motion in order to shape and maintain the planet. The long-term effect of these laws can be seen in, among other things, the amazing variety of rock formations and strata visible all around the earth.

Using stress to create something far stronger and more lasting is an element of sandstone formation, as we’ve seen, but also a principle used in metalsmithing. However, the most relevant use of stress-to-strength is found as God works with us.

The apostle Peter put it this way, “But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you,” (1 Peter 5:10 1 Peter 5:10But the God of all grace, who has called us to his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that you have suffered a while, make you perfect, establish, strengthen, settle you.
American King James Version×
, NKJV).  God allows us to go through trials in order to forge our character and refine our outlook as we prepare now to be God-beings, a part of the family of God, in the Kingdom of God.

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