picture of the day
The Roraima Tepui. Parque Nacional
Canaima, Venezuela. Photographer unknown
Dec 14, 2007
The Amazonian Tepuis
Mysterious mountain-sized stone blocks tower over the jungles of
Venezuela and Bolivia. Could they be electrical uplifts?
previous Thunderbolts Picture of the Day articles, we
presented a possible scenario for various stone monoliths
around the world. We theorized that they are the result of
electrical uplift within the spinning vortices of titanic
Birkeland currents. Compression zones known as Bennett
or Z-pinches, crush whatever material is within them
into solids, leaving sandstone and granite blocks behind.
In the three
corners region of the Amazon rise
formations of incredible strangeness and beauty. Called
"tepuis" (mesas), they are sandstone monoliths similar to
those we formerly discussed.
the tallest of the
Venezuelan sandstones, reaches nearly 3000 meters above
the cloud tops. "Roraima" means, "Mother of Waters" in the
language of the Pemon Indians who live in Paratepui and who
act as guides for trekking expeditions. The description is
apt because several rivers flowing into Brazil, Venezuela
and Guyana originate on or near its summit. It was the first
of the tepuis to be climbed 100 years ago and was probably
the inspiration for Doyle's "The Lost World."
On top of
Roraima Tepui is The Crystal Valley, a
steep depression containing
chunks of quartz in glittering piles. They can be
gathered by the handful like crushed ice. The tepuis are
distinctive in other respects, as well. Because of their
steepness and inaccessibility, the structures have developed
unique ecologies that vary from one another and from the
overall flora and fauna in the jungles at their feet.
Although there are strange creatures living on the tepuis,
there are no dinosaurs as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle hoped.
The most famous
tepui is Auyana, a 675 square kilometer monolith, out of
which gushes the highest waterfall on Earth,
Angel Falls. Also called Saltos Angel, the falls plummet
807 meters in a
misty veil. Jimmy Angel accidentally discovered the
falls that bear his name in 1935 while flying through the
Devil's Canyon region. In 1937, he and an exploration team
attempted to land on
top of Auyuna, but crashed into the boggy loam. A
1000-meter vertical descent and an eleven-day slog through
the wilderness brought them out with news of the site.
There are other
aspects of the tepuis that bear close examination. They are
caves and tunnels that penetrate deeply into the rock
faces, revealing formations like those we considered in
Picture of the Day. Inside the
Cerro Autana tepui is a cave 430 meters long and 44
meters high made entirely of quartz. An enormous geode, in
Picture of the Day about Ben Bulben revealed strange
rocks perched like stacked columns of loose boulders on many
monolithic granite mounds.
Logan Stones represent the mysteries surrounding the
origin of mountainous, isolated towers. On top of the tepuis,
structures that make conventional explanation all but
is the most bizarre of the tepuis. The
sandstone massif is visible from Roraima and has a
waterfall fit to rival Angel Falls. The shapes carved
walls and its flat top are beyond anything we have yet
abstract sculptures, and giant
fulgurites are everywhere.
monoliths the world over - granite, sandstone or other
minerals notwithstanding - exhibit the same geological
phenomena, perhaps they were carved by the same force:
electric arcs billions of watts hot.
By Stephen Smith
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