Apr 18, 2008
New Zealand’s Moeraki Boulders
Strange round nodules of solid stone are found on a beach
in New Zealand. Are they “concretions” precipitated over
eons? Or is electricity a better explanation?
There are many anomalous objects
buried in mountains,
drowned in oceans or scattered across the landscape that are not adequately
explained through conventional theories. In
previous Picture of the Day articles, we have identified several unique
sites where stone spheres have been discovered washing out of hillsides or
embedded within a sandstone matrix.
40 kilometers south of Oamaru, New Zealand, is a beach where hundreds of
calcium carbonate spheres have fallen out of a
cliff face and rolled down into the water. They range in size from small
nodules to giant balls over 4 meters in diameter. Said to be the result of slow
growth around a nucleus, the spheres are referred to as “concretions” and are
thought to be the result of tiny amounts of mineral precipitation taking place
over 65 million years.
The Moeraki Boulders come from within a hillside that has been cut into by
weathering. The various mineral layers are composed of mudstones and the nodules
appear to have grown in place. The layers often surround them like nacre
surrounds a foreign object to form the pearl in an oyster, yet the spheres are
not part of the layers. If the surrounding material is dug away, the stone balls
will fall out of their cavities because they are not attached to the inner wall.
Thunderbolts Picture of the Day described glassified spherules, created by
C. J. Ransom in his VEMASAT laboratory, proving that lightning strikes might be
a way by which stone eggs form. When NASA reported the discovery of
“blueberries” on Mars, Dr. Ransom shot rock dust and soils with high voltage
electric discharges. His results look remarkably similar to the Martian
blueberries and to other such accumulations of
stone balls on Earth.
Electric arcs of great power will smash matter into the center of a vortex and
crush it into spherical shapes. It may also melt the material to a greater or
lesser degree. Because of these “z-pinch” zones of compression, several kinds of
“stone ball” might result and they will be composed of different substances,
depending on their location.
For example, there are
Moqui balls – iron spheres with sandstone cores,
Apache tears and geodes. Many of them are
hollow inside. What else besides electrical compression can account for the
variety of substrate, the often-pressurized interiors of the spherules or the
fact of their spherical shape in the first place? If the stones formed in place
due to precipitation, they would be domes with flat bottoms. If they were in
motion when they formed, they would be lozenge-shaped, like river rocks, or
bullet-shaped – either way, they would not retain a rounded shape.
It seems likely that the Moeraki Boulders were left by giant electric arcs as
they passed through the southern landscape of New Zealand, excavating the
canyons, uplifting the stone tors and creating many other unusual geological
Written by Stephen Smith from
an idea submitted by Klaas Geertsma
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