Wednesday, 29 June 2016

The Roque Cinchado: A Unique Rock Formation in Island of Tenerife

The Roque Cinchado is a rare rock formation lies within the Teide National Park in the municipality of La Orotava Canary Islands of Spain. Roque Cinchado is one of largest in the world by altitude, more than 2000 meters. The Roque Chinchado is a unique rock formation; in fact its photographs appeared on 1000 peseta bank notes with Teide in the background. Roque Chnchado is a marvouls geological freak show of twisted pinnacles of lava, formed as a result of erosion of the volcanic dykes. The Roque Cinchado worth to take a look and in this specific case, it is the most photographed rock in the world. Many archaeologists believe and considered this rock formation is equally important as the other rock formation of Uluru in Australia, Delicate Arch Utah USA, and Devils Tower Wyoming USA. The compositions of Roque Cinchado are mainly of pyroclastics, alluvial fan breccias, and conglomerates of volcanic material, phonolitic dikes crosscutting the sedimentary layers.

The Roque Cinchado is to be found about 1700 meters below the summit of Teide volcano, actually a volcanic formation; belongs to a lineup of large rock formations, leftovers of the former summit of the island, well-known as "Roques García." From every passing century, the rain and wind has gradually worn down the earth and rock formation to expose the harder rock of the dykes in all their glory. The Roque Chinchado rock is eroding faster its base then above, could be topple one day.  Important, somewhat puzzling and actually saddening is the fact the Island of Tenerife is one of massive volcanic edifice that is actually second in size after only the Island of Hawaii (Big Island). Nevertheless from the rocks, the lunar landscape of the “Llano de Ucanca” plains is just to the west of here a completely surreal landscape that just has to be seen to be believed.

Monday, 27 June 2016

Mysterious Valley of Balls, Kazakhstan

The valley of balls or Torysh, as it’s called in Kazakh, is located at the Northern tip of the Western Karatau, close to the town of Shetpe in Western Kazakhstan. The area consists of plentiful ball-like rock formations strewn across a wide range of steppe land. The balls sizes are vary, but most of them are 3 to 4 meters in diameter. So far, the phenomenon is not properly researched, however various geological explanations from mega-spherulites crystalline balls formed in volcanic ash and exposed by weathering to cannonball concretions. 

It is believed, that balls are to be concretions a hard, compact mass created by the precipitation of minerals. They’re every so often spherical and generally form in sedimentary rock or soil.  In fact this is not a rare phenomenon, because this type of concretions is found all over the world. So, questions comes in mind what is rare, the size these concretions have reached, as large as those in valley of balls are found only at some places on planet earth. The New Zealand famous Moeraki Boulders is another example. Moreover you can see a massive Lion Rock also called “Sherkala” 332 white and ochre chalk outcrop with various fissures along its rim and more rock formation at its foot. The adjacent places are also the scant ruins of the Silk Road Town Kyzylkala. 

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

The Putangirua Pinnacles, New Zealand

The Putangirua Pinnacles are also known colloquially simply as The Pinnacles, which are a geological formation, consists of massive number of earth pillars or hoodoos located at the head of a valley in the Aorangi Ranges in Wairarapa region in New Zealand.  The Putangirua Pinnacles are large crumbly rock stalagmite type structures rising tens of metres into the air, left behind as the surrounding area erodes. Well, this hasn’t confirmed how long the pinnacles have been forming, but researchers believed it would be probably less than 125,000 years old with major erosion probably start 7000 years ago and go faster in the last 1000 years with the deforestation of the area. 

The Putangirua Pinnacles are one of New Zealand's best examples of badlands erosion. The Aorangi ranges were an island somewhere 7 to 9 million years old, when the sea levels were much higher with landmass was eroded as the time passes, large alluvial fans formed on its southern shores. The Island was submerged when the sea level rose again, but after the Ice ages, the sea level go back and old alluvial fans have been unprotected to the erosive forces of wind and water have weathered away the conglomerate. The shapes of the hoodoos gives the sense of the canyon that walked through it certainly gives this area other-worldly feel.  

However at several places, the conglomerate is secure from erosion above by a cap of cemented silt or rock, resulting in the formation of amazing Pinnacles. There are number of prominent fluting caused by rainwater running down their sides during massive storms. This area has been featured in many Hollywood movies. Moreover, there are two tracks here; one goes up the valley at the base of the pinnacles and climbs up in between them.  The hikers can hike up the valley follows a rocky stream bed, and is not the easiest path to see, but as long as you keep going up the valley you’ll be fine.

The Stone Spheres of Costa Rica

The Stone Spheres of Costa Rica is one of strangest mysteries in archaeology was discovered in the Diquis Delta also known as the Sierpe, Diquís, and General River, near the towns of Palmar Sur and Palmar Norte. The hundreds of stone balls have been discovered ranging in size from a few centimeters to more than two meters in diameter. More than 300 stone balls are monolithic sculptures made with human hands. Almost all of them are made of granodiorite a hard, igneous stone. They are in many tons in weighing; the largest ones weigh over 16 tons. These days, people decorate official buildings, hospitals and schools and even find them in museums as well. The stone balls were most expected made by the ancestors of native peoples who lived in the region at the time of the Spanish conquest. The Ball Stones can also find them as ubiquitous status symbols adorning the homes and gardens of the rich and powerful.

These objects are not natural in origin, different the stone balls in Jalisco, Mexico that was described in a 1965 National Geographic article.  These stone balls probably made by reducing round boulders to a spherical shape through a combination of controlled fracture, pecking, and grinding. The stone balls could have been roughed out through the application of heat and cold. When they were close to spherical in shape, they were further abridged by pecking and hammering with stones made of the similar hard material. The spheres are usually attributed to the extinct Diquís culture and are sometimes referred to as the Diquís Spheres have been placed in lines along the approach to the houses of chiefs, but their exact implication remains indeterminate. So nobody knows for what purpose to make these stone balls. Therefore, various myths surround the stones, such as they came from Atlantis, or that they were made as such by nature. Because no one has been able to demonstrate that gabbro, the material from which most of the balls are sculpted, can be worked this way. As early as 1948, the Spheres were deteriorating due to exposure to temperature changes, water damage from rain and irrigation.

The Stone Spheres can found from the bed of the Térraba River, where easily transported by natural processes from sources of parent material in the Talamanca mountains. Interestingly unfinished stone balls were never found there. The stone balls of Costa Rica have been the object of pseudoscientific speculations since the publication of Erich von Däniken’sChariots in 1971. In recent times, they have gained massive attention in many books; have been featured on television, radio, magazines, and web pages, where they do an unbelievable disservice to the public by misrepresenting themselves and the state of actual knowledge about these objects. Although the fact is that they have been recognized to experts since they first came to light during agricultural activities by the United Fruit Company in 1940.

In 1950’s, archaeological excavations undertaken at sites with stone balls found them to be associated with pottery and other materials typical of the Pre-Columbian cultures of southern Costa Rica. These stone balls have been endangered, by destroyed dynamited by treasure hunters or cracked and broken for agricultural activities. They appear to have been made by hammering natural boulders with other rocks, then polishing with sand. The placement of the Spheres was of great significance were carved was quarried many miles away. The labor required to transport it testify to a highly advanced society. Thus, a sense of inviolability and ritual permeates places where the Spheres were initially placed. It is even possible that they are an earthly map of the night sky millennia past.

Thursday, 16 June 2016

The Standing Sotnes of Stenness, Scotland

The Standing Stones of Stenness is a Neolithic monument 5 miles northeast of Stromness on the mainland of Orkney, Scotland. The Standing Stones of Stenness are actually a circle of 12 stones with a diameter of 30m and comprises of 4 uprights. The circle is surrounded by a rock-cut ditch approximately 2m deep, 7m wide and 44m in diameter. The excavation has exposed a square setting of stones and bedding holes for further uprights, either stone or wooden. The circle was constructed somewhere 3000 BC, older than several Henge monuments in the British Isles. An 18th century antiquary, Dr. Robert Henry, describe the site was used once for the Temple of the Moon, and the Ring of Brodgar as the Temple of the Sun. The Neolithic quarried thousands of tons of fine-grained sandstone, trimmed it, properly shaped it, and then transported it quite a few miles to a grassy promontory with commanding views of the nearby countryside. Their workmanship was extremely immaculate.

The stones themselves are very impressive, but why the Standing Stones of Stenness were erected is still a mystery. The possible judgement is that, they were doing numerous activities, ceremonies, and celebrating the life with relationship between living and past communities. The remnants of domestic animals, such as sheep, cattle, and dog’s bones were found in the ditch. The Standing Stones of Stenness form part of the Heart of Neolithic Orkney World Heritage site in December 1999. The name comes from Old Norse meaning stone headland suggesting that this area had particular importance. The Standing Stones are lacks of encircling ditch and bank these days, but excavation has shown that this used to be a Henge monument. There are many stones still standing in the area, originally associated with Stennes Stones. However one famous stone Odin was destroyed in 1814, while collapsed the other stone that was part of the ring. The Stone of Odin was a sad loss, because it had a circular hole, through which local lovers plighted their troth by holding hands. The stone that had toppled was re-erected, discovered lying under the turf. This rather small and misshapen stone has been the subject of controversy ever since, but it remains standing today.

Moreover, the history showed, men, women, children and families approaching Stenness at certain time of year, carrying bales of bones, skeletons of corpses skulls, mandibles, long bones, skulls of totem animals, and herding a beast to be slaughtered for the feasting that would accompany the ceremonies. The stones are thin slabs, approximately 12 in thick with sharply angled tops. However, four, up to about 16 feet high, were initially elements of a stone circle of up to 12 stones, laid out in an ellipse about 105 feet diameter on a levelled platform of 144 feet diameter surrounded by a ditch. The ditch is cut into rock by 6.6 feet and is 23 feet wide, surrounded by an earth bank, with a single entrance causeway on the north side.

The Stones of Stenness are terrifically located with brilliant views over the surrounding countryside extending to the hills of Hoy. Therefore, the perfect time to pay the visit in summer, and try to very early morning or late in the day, to observe the majestic view of stones against the sunrise or sunset, and maybe even have them to yourself. The Stones of Stenness can be seen right by the roadside, among popular stopping spot for visitors. Hence, there are no restrictions, you can go right up to them and touch them; and see the ruins of some other Neolithic houses and central house, these are not as well advertised as those at Skara Brae, but are still captivating if you like to muse on their history.  Source: CP