Skip to main content

In Images: Watch Utah's Gorgeous Rainbow Bridge Vibrate

Stunning natural wonder

rainbow bridge in utah

(Image credit: Jeff Moore)

Rainbow Bridge, a 300-foot-tall (91 meter) natural arch carved from sandstone in Utah, vibrates as a result of both natural and manmade movements, new research has found.

Seismic tracking

rainbow bridge arch

(Image credit: Jeff Moore)

Rainbow Bridge is venerated by many tribal groups in the area, but University of Utah geophysicist Jeff Moore received permission to place seismic sensors on and around the arch to understand how it moved.

Sensors placed

rainbow bridge arch

(Image credit: Jeff Moore)

The seismic sensors revealed that the bridge usually hums at a low rate. But other factors can cause bigger vibrations.

Whipping waves

rainbow bridge natural arch in utah

(Image credit: Jeff Moore)

For instance, waves on Lake Powell seem to cause movements at the same frequency in Rainbow Bridge.

Earthquake oscillations

rainbow bridge vibrational mode

(Image credit: Jeff Moore)

Earthquakes can also cause movement in the natural arch. Here, another vibrational mode of the arch.

Manmade impacts

rainbow bridge in utah

(Image credit: Jeff Moore)

The researchers found that a manmade earthquake as far away as Oklahoma also caused motion in the natural bridge. However, it's not clear how this human-induced motion compares to the motion caused by the wind, researchers said.