10 of the World's Most Wondrous Natural Arches

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Spectacular spans

Photo: tusharkoley/Shutterstock

Few of Earth's formations seem to suggest an intelligent creator quite like natural arches and bridges do. But it is precisely the fact that they were molded by the delicate hands of a heedless, indifferent sculptor — Mother Nature — that make them so awe-inspiring, like the Delicate Arch in Utah. Perhaps the beauty of natural arches comes from how improbable they seem.

Carved from nothing more than the weathering hand of time and Earth's own forces, here are some of the world's most wondrous natural arches.

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Landscape Arch, United States

Photo: daveynin/flickr

Arches National Park in Utah hosts one of the largest concentrations of natural arches in the world, and the longest arch in the park is Landscape Arch (pictured). Spanning over 290 feet, the arch hangs precariously like an aging picture frame. The arch is accessible from the Devils Garden trailhead, a relatively easy hike to the arch. Things get a bit more difficult on the trail after the arch, however, so be prepared!

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Durdle Door, United Kingdom

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This impressive limestone sea arch on the Jurassic Coast near Lulworth in Dorset, England, appears like a gateway to another dimension. The name Durdle is derived from the Old English "thirl," meaning bore or drill. Despite being privately owned, the arch is open to the public

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Moon Hill, China

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This stunning natural arch just outside Yangshuo in southern China's Guangxi region gives the impression of a moon rising from the landscape. The hole is all that remains of a limestone cave. The arch is an impressive 165 feet in height.

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Rainbow Bridge, United States

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Rainbow Bridge in Utah is often described as one of the world's largest known natural bridges. It's difficult to imagine just how impressive this structure is without standing beneath it. More than 290 feet tall and nearly 275 feet across, this sandstone arch straddles a feeder canyon to the mighty Colorado River, improbably unbroken through time.

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Pont d'Arc, France

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Carved out by the Ardeche River, Pont d'Arc is a popular kayaking spot, and you can see why. This natural bridge is almost 200 feet wide and 175 feet high.

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The Azure Window, Malta

Photo: Mikhail Starodubov/Shutterstock

This limestone sea arch on the Maltese island of Gozo was a popular spot for scuba divers, not to mention movies and TV shows. The Azure Window was featured in the original "Clash of the Titans" and the HBO TV series "Game of Thrones." Like all natural arches, however, the Azure Window had a lifespan, and it collapsed in March 2017. We're not sure how old the arch was, but some estimates put it at a mere 140 years old.

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Immortal Bridge, China

Photo: pfctdayelise/Wikimedia Commons

This precarious rock bridge found on Mount Tai, a tilted fault-block mountain, is counterintuitively called the Immortal Bridge, though you probably wouldn't want to test your own mortality by crossing it.

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Green Bridge of Wales, United Kingdom

Photo: JKMMX/Wikimedia Commons

This impressive natural sea arch is found in the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park in Wales. It gets it name from the vegetation that grows along its top. Today, it is one of the more famous landmarks in Wales, but like all arches it will one day collapse into the sea, something sped up by Hurricane Ophelia in October 2017. The storm damaged the arch, destroying some of its archway.

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Arco Naturale, Italy

Photo: Kemmsche/Wikimedia Commons

Found on the east coast of the island of Capri, this natural arch offers a spectacular window to the sea. Dating from the Paleolithic age, it is the remains of a collapsed grotto.

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Delicate Arch, United States

Photo: Arches National Park/Wikimedia Commons

The most famous arch in Arches National Park, Utah, Delicate Arch hangs tenuously over the sweeping landscape. Formed of sandstone gradually worn away by weathering and erosion, it appears like a keyhole to an ancient era.