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Hogbacks, Colorado

Erosional Landform Pictures


Hogbacks form when steeply tilted rock beds are eroded. The harder rock layers slowly emerge as hogbacks like these south of Golden, Colorado. (more below)
Steep rock ridges
Photo (c) 2007 Andrew Alden, licensed to About.com (fair use policy)
In this view of the hogbacks the harder rocks are on the far side, and the softer rocks that they protect from erosion are on the near side.

Hogbacks get their name because they resemble the high, knobby spines of pigs. Usually the term is used when the ridge has roughly the same slope on both sides, which means that the resistant rock layers are steeply tilted. When the resistant layer is tilted more gently, the softer side is steep while the hard side is gentle. That type of landform is called a cuesta.

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