Sunday, 19 February 2017

The Waffle Rock: A big attraction at Jennings Randolph Lake.

A large piece of rock is display in just outside the visitor center of Jennings Randolph Lake, in Mineral County, in the US state of West Virginia. The one side of the rock appears a usual waffle-like geometric pattern of raised, darker stone that runs in almost completely straight lines across the rock’s surface. The lines cross themselves at different angles forming deep pockets of lighter colored material. This strange formation has caused many to speculate on what might have caused such a strange pattern. The boulder lodged into the ground at Jennings Randolph Lake is a small piece of this rock that is believed to have broken off from the parent outcrop somewhere higher up the slope. A smaller piece of the same rock is also on display in the Smithsonian Institute of Natural History located in Washington, DC.

The bizarre patterning on the so-called “Waffle Rock” is a result of natural erosion, though over the years several alternative theories regarding its origins have evolved, and these engross pretty much the usual aliens, enormous reptiles and ancient Indian societies. The U.S. Corps of Engineers propose some insight into the rock’s formation.  The sandstone layers that make up the rock were formerly deposited about 250 to 300 million years ago. Then as the continent started to breakup by tectonic plate shifts, about 200 million years ago, the sandstone block was folded onto itself frequently creating cracks in the sandstone. Therefore, another 100 million years, the cracks started to fill with iron oxide, leached from the surrounding rock by the percolating water.

However, this iron oxide mixed with the sand grains in the cracks and formed a super hard material resistant to weathering compared to the surrounding sandstone pieces. Hence, the sandstone rock eroded away, it left behind the hard iron-oxide waffle like pattern on the rock. Moreover, the Waffle Rock formation is not regular, although alike patterned boulder have been found in Monongahela, Pennsylvania, and at Tea Creek Mountain in Pocahontas County, West Virginia. Numerous other undocumented examples of this stone patterning are in quite a few other places around the world. Still there’re so many peoples who refuse to accept that the Waffle Rock is a natural formation.  Hell, there are still people who think the Earth is flat perhaps we should bow to his superior knowledge on the subject. Now standing as an attraction for the public to view in person, the Waffle Rock boulder of West Virginia continues to draw the crowds to this truly ancient artifact. 

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