The Goblin Valley rock formations are more than 160 million years old. Within minutes, three men destroyed one of the ancient forms. The Boy Scout leaders were visiting Goblin Valley State Park with a church group.
The men filmed their disturbing behavior and posted it to YouTube. The video eventually gained the attention of Utah authorities. The Emery County Prosecutor is considering felony charges.
Park officials said the formations date back to the Jurassic period. Utah State Parks and Recreation deputy director, Jeff Rasmussen, said he is “very upset and concerned” that the formation was destroyed.
As reported by Huffington Post, the unique formations are created when soft rock and soil is washed way from underneath harder rock. The resulting formations have a top that is wider than the bottom. They are referred to as hoodoo or goblins.
As reported by Fox 13 News, the man who actually dislodged the rock has been identified as Glenn Taylor. The incident was filmed by Dave Hall.
In the video, Taylor pushes against the Goblin Valley formation until it topples to the ground. The men exchange high-fives, congratulating Taylor’s work. Hall then exclaims “we have modified Goblin Valley.” The men erupt into laughter.
The men claim their film is misleading. They contend the formation was dangerous and could have killed a passing child. Hall said Taylor’s behavior may have saved a life. In his opinion, toppling the rock was “the best and smartest” option.
State park officials disagree. The damage is irreparable and the landscape is forever changed.
Taylor said he regrets his behavior, as he may lose his position as a Boy Scout leader. The organization does not allow convicted felons to hold leadership positions.
Goblin Valley rock formations are unique and fascinating. However, they can be fragile. Once broken, they cannot be replaced.
[Image via Flickr]