Link - article by Avi Abrams

      We are opening new series of "sensational rock formations" found
        throughout the Earth: this is the first part; send us tips about other
        incredible rock shapes, we will cover them in next installments of the

      Strangely Round Rocks of "Unknown Origin"

      Well, saying "unknown origin" is an obvious exaggeration, since it is
      widely assumed that they must be
      sedimentary concretions, and were created by cementation of mud stone, coastal erosion, time and
      elements, just like any other unusual rock formation. Yet their bizarre
      cracked shells, often perfectly spherical shape and unexpected locations
      remain largely unexplained and keeps them regarded as a "geological
      mystery". Not to mention other theories: are they fossils? alien eggs?
      weird energy storage devices from a crashed alien ship? Some even say that
      they are the... Great Balls of Fire (that fell down on Earth in Biblical

      (image via)

      These balls in the mist are
      Moeraki Boulders
      at the Koekohe Beach on the Otago coast of New Zealand. They are truly
      strange: gigantic (up to three meters), some almost perfectly spherical in
      shape, with a crystal-filled hollow interior... resembling a discarded
      shell, a gigantic pod waiting to hatch, or a husk that's already hatched.
      For example, these seem to be ready to hatch:

      (top image credit:
        Michael Berry, bottom

      Some Moeraki are made of stone, some of iron; their age is estimated from
      5 to 50 million years. Neil Armstrong once remarked:
      "Geologists have a saying - rocks remember." What these rocks
      witnessed through untold millennia might shed a light on how they formed:

      (left image credit:
        Melissa Curtis)

      Similar spherical boulders were discovered in Russia, in the Boguchanka
      village close to Irkutsk, Siberia:


      Also stone orbs were seen in China (more
      info), Costa-Rica and even in Bosnia (as part of the Bonyan Pyramid,

      (images via

      Similar "stone balls" crop up in France (see


      ... and in Argentina (left image). They vary in sizes and often classified
      as "cannonball concretions". The stones in Costa Rica, however, are
      thought to have been "carved by the Olmec civilization, because they're
      often resting among huge stone heads, artifacts attributed to the Olmecs."

      (images via

      These mysterious sphere formations even crop out on Mars - scientists call
      them "Martian blueberries"! -


      There exists a theory of
      lightning strikes as the means by which stone eggs form. "Based on
      research into the shape and size of so-called, “blueberries” on Mars, Dr.
      C. J. Ransom exposed samples of rock dust and soils to high voltage
      electric discharges. His results are remarkably similar to the Martian
      blueberries, and to other such accumulations of stone balls on Earth."
      Here is the evidence of the hollow interior of these spheres (some
      tourists seem to get carried away with this feature):

      (images via
        1, 2,

      So what about these cracks and "alien egg" patterns on these spheres? They
      are similar to the cracks displayed by septarian nodules (left
      image below). On the right is a large spherical concretion in Montana
      which ended up on top of a hoodoo erosion column:

      (images via

      Some of the rocks even feature interesting tail attachments (driftwood, or
      dry roots), making them to resemble either an "elephant's bum" (left) or
      an apple (right):

      (images credit:
        Peter Skov,
        Melissa Curtis)

      "Moqui balls", or Moqui marbles, are the concretions of iron found mostly
      in Utah and Arizona. They sport a differently colored (crystallized)
      center which looks almost like a creamy filling in a Raffaello
      chocolate... and they even have a torus formation around their diameter:

      (top right image credit:
        Bernhard Fertig)

      Here are some "chocolate truffles" lying on the Bowling Ball beach in
      California, also a sedimentary rock concretion:


      We are going to finish this overview of round boulders with a somewhat
      cute image: one Moeraki boulder waiting to meet up with another Moeraki
      boulder cropping out of the cliff. I imagine, once they meet up, they are
      going to come to some mutual understanding and hatch more Moeraki

      (image via)

      "The person that turns over the most rocks wins the game",
      according to Peter Lynch. These rocks are remarkably easy to turn over.
      And yet they regard us with a certain air of mystery. Stay tuned for next
      installments in our Sensational Rocks Series.




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Anonymous Janeen said...

I wonder if some of these are formed when vugs fill with secondary minerals then get weathered out of volcanic deposits. The fact that some have the same general structure as geodes would indicate this.

For other formations - the Plan of Jars is interesting. And, of course the Race Track in Death Valley.

Anonymous Peter Skov said...

This is a fun post. I read about concretions when I was writing about the Red Rock Coulee boulders in Alberta and later the Moeraki concretions featured here. There were many reports of concretions found around the world and a humorous cartoon of a geologist with a concretion formed around his foot because he had been studying rocks in a river for too long. Thanks for asking me about my photo and I will be checking out more posts later.

Blogger Musback said...

In the documentary "Forbidden Archeology" you can see some mysterious stones found in African mines. They appear to be man-made, extremely hard to process/manipulate and last but not least: Carbon dated to 2 Billion years of age!
http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_s-ghg93DCrQ/TVBhEvHL5HI/AAAAAAAACpc/3u5zsBI2AeM/s1600/sphere.jpg http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_s-ghg93DCrQ/TVBhEvHL5HI/AAAAAAAACpc/3u5zsBI2AeM/s1600/sphere.jpg

Blogger Musback said...

My links didn't come through, http://miscellaneous-pics.blogspot.com/2009/05/metal-spheres-found-in-2-million-year.html
appearantly they are METAL, sorry about my previous post :-)

Anonymous Zastrozzi said...

Montana hoodoo sphere - was God a huge alien golfer?

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The second and fourth images after the olmec reference are concretions found in rock city park near minneapolis kansas.
they seem to be geologically related to the so-called mushroom rocks a few miles southwest of these.

Anonymous DaveEh said...

There is a tea house/restaurant on the bluff above the Moeraki boulders. Once when I was there they had a cutout from a newspaper article about the rocks with the headline 'The world has lost its marbles, and we know where they are'.

Anonymous Richard Koolish said...

In July 2010, I was at a 3D photography convention in Huron Ohio.
There were spherical stones used as landscaping around the
resort. On doing some research, I think they are from the
Huron Shale formation.


Blogger Robbert said...

Nice post! Especially about the Mouraki boulders and the moqui balls. I think 'The devils marbles' in Australia are a nice addition to this list of phenomena:



ps: I also couldnt resist the rocks in New-Zealand:


Anonymous Max said...

Though probably not as "mysterious" (or neatly spherical), but I'd say just as spectacular are the "giant's causeway" hex-tile columns in Ireland...

Anonymous Anonymous said...

That first image is shopped like crazy.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Try Google "trovanti" :)

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Petrified Dinosaur Eggs :)

Blogger Stickmaker said...

Carbon dating is generally used for the range 200 to 40,000 years Before Present. Beyond that, there's not usually enough C-14 left for a reliable date.

Rocks on erosion pillars are an interesting phenomenon. Compressed rock generally is tougher and weathers more slowly. If a hard boulder is left on softer rock by erosion, the wind will wear away the softer - less compressed - rock faster, until only that directly under the boulder is left. Eventually, even that wears away, but in the meantime you have these sometimes quite large rocks on tall, spindly spires.

Blogger alisa said...

Do you know where you can purchase these? Is there a place local in AZ?


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