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Videos show exploding rock arch, hoodoos in Utah — are they real or a hoax?

By Ashley Imlay, KSL | Posted - Dec 11th, 2018 @ 7:00pm

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SALT LAKE CITY — One video shows a rock arch crumble in an apparent explosion. Another depicts flat-lying rocks falling off a pair of hoodoos, leaving only dust in their wake.

Both were purportedly filmed somewhere in Utah, according to websites that originally shared the videos.

The clips, which started circulating the internet late last week, have people asking — is this a crime or an elaborate hoax?

Not even state officials seem to know as of Tuesday afternoon.

"The Utah Department of Natural Resources and Division of Parks and Recreation learned of these videos yesterday. We are currently working to determine the authenticity of both and reaching out to other state and federal agencies to identify the exact locations," according to a statement from the Utah Department of Natural Resources.

It is unclear who originally shared the videos or where the alleged vandalism may have happened, but they have both cropped up on video sharing sites Liveleak and YouTube and have been shared by various news outlets.

Whether the videos are determined to be real or faux, officials are urging people to help preserve the parks and reminded that "the destruction of natural rock formations on public land is a crime and will be prosecuted."

"Formations like hoodoos and arches take tens of thousands of years to form and can be destroyed in seconds when people act carelessly and irresponsibly. Please protect Utah's public lands. Report abusive behavior like vandalism and enjoy the outdoors responsibly," according to the statement.

This isn't the first time Utah's national parks have been a victim of recent real or alleged vandalism.

In August, Zion National Park officials asked visitors to take a #ZionPledge to help preserve the park after thousands of handprints marked the Narrows trail.

Also in August, an Idaho man was fined $1,000 and ordered to pay about $800 in restitution after scratching graffiti into Corona Arch near Moab and then posing for a picture with his family.

In May, signatures including the Instagram handle @SuspenceFitness were found penned with permanent marker on the popular Angel's Landing trail in Zion National Park, drawing swift and severe online backlash. The outrage spurred the unidentified vandal to turn himself in.


Video of two Utah Boy Scout leaders toppling a hoodoo formation in Goblin Valley State Park in 2013 drew worldwide attention, including death threats for the men involved. Glenn Tuck Taylor and David Benjamin Hall faced felony charges for the vandalism and went on to plead guilty to misdemeanor offenses in a deal with prosecutors. The pleas were held in abeyance for one year and then dismissed.


Ashley Imlay

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