Wednesday, 9 November 2016

Rujm el-Hiri: The Ancient Israel’s Stonehenge

Well, the ancient megalith monument, comprising of concentric stone circles and a tumulus at the center. However, it looks extremely impressive from the air, and barely visible from the ground. The megalith monument walls are just 6 feet high; though the central mound is higher. The ancient place is located in the middle of a bare expanse of field in the Israeli-occupied portion of the Golan Heights. This is large stone monument went ignored for many centuries. The stone monument was captured from Syria in 1967, and then it was discovered by Israeli archeologists after territory was captured.
This is also called Rujm el-Hiri (means "stone heap of the wild cat) is dated to about 3000 BC, which makes it contemporary to famous England's Stonehenge. The Syrian people also called it Rujm el-Hiri, in Arabic while Hebrew it is named “Gilgal Refaim” that means the “wheel of Refaim”, where “Refaim” is an ancient race of giants. It is also mentioned in the Bible that supposedly lived in Iron Age Israel. The word “Refaim” in Modern Hebrew also means "ghosts" or "spirits". This reference to “giants” and “ghosts” alludes to its huge size, however the stone circle is 160 meters across as well as to the secret of who built the multifaceted and the purpose behind it. This stone monument is often referred to as the "Stonehenge of the Levant."
The megalith structure consists of a large circle of basalt rocks, comprising four smaller concentric circles, each getting gradually thinner. Therefore, same as most megalith sites, there is no record of who built Rujm el-Hiri or for what purpose. The circles walls are connected by unevenly placed smaller stone walls perpendicular to the circles. Thus, at the center is a heap of rocks, recognized as a cairn. This cairn is just 5 meters tall, and their tallest part of the whole structure. Another theory believes that “Rujm el-Hiri” was an astronomical calendar. Although, it is projected that “Rujm el-Hiri” contains more than 40,000 tons of basalt rocks.
Moreover it seems that in the year 3000 BCE, the longest day, the first rays of the sun shone through the opening in the north-east gate. However, the shown alignment is not impeccable, that is assumed to be a sign of the lack of exact knowledge or the absence of precise architectural tools. Moreover, another theory is that the “Rujm el-Hiri” is built for a tomb purpose even though no human remains have been found. The incomprehensible site lies close to Israeli military camps and is so accessible only on holidays and weekends.

Friday, 28 October 2016

Pobiti Kamani: The Stone Forest of Bulgaria

Well, there’s almost 18 km to the west of Varna, Bulgaria, on the road to the capital of Sofia is an amazing natural area named “Pobiti Kamani” or the Stone Forest. In the first glance, it looks like the ruins of an ancient temple, but these broken stone pillars are all natural. The stone columns are scattered in lesser groups across an 8 km long belt along the northern Bulgarian Black Sea coast. 

Although they’re varying in height with some reaching 5 to 7 meters tall, and thickness ranges from 30 centimeters to 3 meters across. Therefore the most inquisitive thing about these pillars is that they are mostly hollow and filled with sand. They don’t have a firm foundation or attached to the bedrock. In its place, they’re insecurely stuck into the surrounding sand as if someone had hammered them into the earth. Moreover, these stones have been identified since the ancient times but in 1828, these were first documented by the scientific community.

Hence, since then, dozens of theories have attempted to clarify their formation, ranging from coral growth to Eocene bubbling reefs, to limestone concretions. Though, one of the most believable explanations comes from the Bulgarian geologist’s brothers Peter and Stefan Bonchev Gochev. The brothers trust that the columns date back to the Cenozoic Era, about 50 million years ago, when much of Eastern Europe was covered by oceans. Sediments and sludge settled to the bottom of the seabed, and were compressed into limestone. However, sometime later methane gases from ancient deposits taking place seeping from the sea bed. As the results they pressurized gases made their way up through the limestone layer, they left behind long tubes. 

Further, millions of years later after the sea receded away; the erosion process of the limestone layer left the tall columns stuck into the ground. The gas-seepage theory doesn’t explain everything, but it’s the best we have. The “Pobiti Kamani” was designated a natural landmark in the late 1930s. Therefore, it was nominated for the “UNESCO World Heritage Site” status in 2011, but hasn’t been able to make the cut.

Tuesday, 25 October 2016

The Frozen Ice Balls of Lake Michighan

Winter is just approaching to the Lakeshore, and with it, all of nature's cold-weather beauty. West Michigan is no stranger to naturally occurring spectacle in the winter months. In the every winter, on the shores of Lake Michigan and on Stroomi beach in northern Tallinn, Estonia, myriads frozen ice balls form naturally.

Ice caverns form along its several piers and lighthouses, gusting wind and ice form strange sand formations on its beaches, and waves repeatedly pummel the shoreline, freezing anything close by in place. Thus, the Ice balls range from a few inches to more than feet across. So, the ice balls form when chunks of ice break off the huge ice sheets that coat parts of the lake in the winter, and as the waves toss the ice blocks around the lake, additional ice forms around them in layers and the ice blocks gets bigger and bigger just like snowballs or hailstones.

The pounding of the waves shape the ice into spheres. Moreover, a related phenomenon is seen on Stroomi beach on the Gulf of Finland. The ice balls can be seen tumbling in the waves, and gradually merging with each other to form larger pieces. If the phenomenon continues, waves will ultimately push the larger, fully-formed ice balls to shore. According to the German news portal Spiegel Online, a very precise condition is required for ice balls to form. Because the sea must also be flat, and the base must not drop precipitously. These surroundings prevail on the Gulf of Finland against Estonia. 

Thursday, 13 October 2016

The Colored Pebbles of Lake McDonald

In The Glacier National Park of U.S. state of Montana, close to the border with Canada, is home of over 700 lakes. However, out of them only 131 of these lakes have names and about 200 lakes are over five acres in size, and a dozen of them surpasses thousands of acres, which in rare for mountain lakes. Moreover, the lakes waters are extraordinarily clear, owning to the yearlong low temperatures that forbid the growth of planktons. It is not rare to see details on the bottom of the lakes at depths of 30 feet or more. 

Furthermore, the one of most prominent feature of some lakes is the existence of a variety of colored rocks and pebbles just beneath the water surface and on the shores. Thus the rocks series color varies from maroon to dark red, and from blue to green. However, colored pebbles are seen in plenty on the shores of Lake McDonald on the western side of the park. The stunning lake McDonald is the largest of the lakes of Glacier National Park with a surface area of 6,823 acres, also the longest, at over 15 kilometers, as well as the deepest lake at 141 meters. The Lake McDonald is home to various native species of trout, and other game fish. However, catchable species include, but are not limited to west-slope cutthroat trout, rainbow trout, bull trout, lake trout, Lake Superior whitefish, mountain whitefish, kokanee salmon, and suckers.

The beautiful green rocks can be seen at “Otokomi Lake”, whereas the dark-colored rocks found at the upper end of Lake McDonald, along McDonald Creek and around Trout Lake are the result of subjecting the red and green iron-rich rocks to heat and pressure. These natural rocks are actually all around Glacier National Park, and were created at different eras. Because, when the glaciers came, it broke down the rocks into miniature fragments and the rivers washed them away. Several of these got deposited onto the lakes and "tarns" lakes formed by filling the bottoms of ice-scoured amphitheaters. Although the water erosion then rendered them into smooth pebbles!

Quoting from the book “Glacier-Waterton International Peace Park” by Vicky Spring and Tom Kirkendall:

The rock color is determined by the presence or absence of iron and the bright red rocks found along the Grinnel Glacier trail were deposited in a shallow ocean environment where the iron was oxidized by the tidal exposure to the air. Further, rocks with this coloration frequently have old ripple marks or ancient mud crack lines. The rich green-colored rocks were shaped in deeper water than the red rocks. Though these rocks comprise the same quantities of iron-bearing minerals, they did not have the same revelation to oxygen and the amount of oxidization was limited.

Friday, 9 September 2016

The Granite Town, The Strange 65-ft Tall Rock Formations just Discovered in Siberia

The granite town, a bizarre 65ft-tall rock formations just discovered in Siberia. The rocks tower up above the ground, knocking together like granite skyscrapers as they keep watch over the vast Siberian landscape. The magnificent photographs are among the first ever taken of the rare rock formations in the Ulakhan-Sis mountain range - a flawless natural wonder as yet undiscovered by the tourist market. The hint of the impressive scenery the magical destination above the Arctic Circle can finally be put on the map. 
Alexander Krivoshapkin was the first who snapped this magical place. He went there in a helicopter whilst counting wild reindeer herds around Ulakhan-Sis in the north-east of Siberia. Therefore, his photographs are believed to be the first ever taken of the structures, known as Sundrun Pillars. However, in the middle of the bare tundra were buttes some 10 to 20m high up to 65ft, standing in groups and alone, like some warriors on a march, who were suddenly petrified with malicious intent of a local shaman centuries ago or like the ruins of an ancient city, which was inhabited by a hitherto unknown people. This is one of the most inaccessible and practically unknown areas of Yakutia, the mountain ridge of Ulakhan-Sis. The stone sentries are known as 'kisilyakhi', in the local Yakut language from the word 'kisi' meaning man. The shapes are believed to have been sculpted by relentless freezing and thawing of the granite and surrounding sandstone.