Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Breathtaking Balanced Rock Formations

Balancing Rock - Digby, Canada

Balancing Rock in Digby, Nova Scotia, is a 30-odd (about 9 m) foot high spire of columnar basalt that has gradually eroded out from the cliff face over countless years. The town of Digby has lately built an infrastructure of railings and walkways so that access to this striking phenomenon of nature is now much safer – both for tourists and for the rock itself.

El Torcal de Antequera, Andalucia, Spain

El Torcal Nature Reserve, situated in the mountains south of Antequera, Spain, features a plethora of karst limestone rock formations that typically feature tall, tapering spires of rock combined with horizontal weathering patterns. The result of this combination is often expressed in huge “flapjack stacks” that are actually more stable than they appear.

Kjeragbolten, Norway

Kjeragbolten is a 5 square meter (roughly 15 sq ft) rock that his wedged itself in a crevasse between two gigantic rocks on Kjerag mountain, Norway. It’s not your typical, top-heavy balanced rock by any means but that’s not to say that Kjeragbolten is at perfect rest – just ask Aron Ralston, whose arm was trapped by a similarly wedged boulder in Utah’s Blue John Canyon, requiring him to take desperate measures to free himself.

Queen Nefertiti Rock, USA

The magnificent Queen Nefertiti Rock can be found in Arches National Park in the state of Utah. There is hundreds of amazing rock formations in the said park.

Balanced Rock (Colorado), USA

The huge balanced rock known as Balanced Rock can be found in the Garden of the Gods, a Registered National Natural Landmark located near Pike’s Peak in Colorado Springs, Colorado. The rock looms over a paved access road that provides an excellent view.

The Cheesewring, England

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The Cheesewring is a granite tor in Cornwall, United Kingdom. It is situated on the eastern flank of Bodmin Moor in the parish of Linkinhorne approximately four miles (6 km) north of Liskeard. The Cheeswring is a natural geological formation, a rock outcrop of granite slabs formed by weathering. It gets its name because the piled slabs look like a "cheesewring", a press-like device that was used to make cheese.

Idol Rock, Brimham Moor, UK

A number of oddly shaped and curiously balanced rocks dot a 50-acre expanse of Brimham Moor in North Yorkshire, England. One of the most outstanding – from a balanced rock point of view – is the so-called Idol Rock. Estimated to weight around 200 tons, Idol Rock balances its enormous weight atop a comparatively tiny, pyramidal stone upon which frighteningly high pressures are being expended.

Peyro Clabado, Sidobre, France

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Peyro Clabado (Nailed Rock) is perhaps the most famous of the many enormous, eroded granite boulders and rock formations that make up the Sidobre in Languedoc, France. The rocks are all that remain of a 300 million year old mountain range that loomed over what was to become western Europe.As hard and dense as granite may be, given enough time even the hardest specimens will be reduced to sand and sediment. Peyro Clabado is on its way to that fate, but for a brief moment in geological time we’re privileged to observe this 780-ton rock perform an exquisitely delicate balancing act.

The Sphere, Scotland

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This spectacular karst formation is called the Sphere or sometimes known as the Globe is part of the Knockan Crag, a line of cliffs in Assynt, Scotland. The name means “crag of the small hill”.

Pedra Montada, Brasil

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This balanced rock called Pedra Montada is located in Brazil.

Rocking Stone, Czech Republic

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This huge balancing rock named the Rocking Stone is located at Kadov, Czech Republic.

Mushroom Rocks, Kansas, USA

Mushroom Rock State Park, located in the Smoky Hills region of Kansas, may only be 5 acres in size but it holds some of the oddest balancing rocks on Earth and a couple of them do indeed resemble mushrooms. The Kansas Mushroom Rocks are a work in progress, and unfortunately the end of the job means the end of the rock formation. Although weathering by wind and water is a slow process, it’s remarkably effective over long stretches of time. In the Mushroom Rocks, one can easily see how the harder, darker Dakota Sandstone cap rock protects (to some degree) the softer, lighter colored stone that forms its pedestal. Even more remarkable is the fact that the narrow pedestal was once part of a distinct layer of rock, the vast majority of which has eroded away.

Balanced Rock (Colorado), USA

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Balanced Rock is an interesting mushroom-shaped rock sitting on the north side of Lumpy Ridge in Rocky Mtn. National Park.

Pinnacle Balanced Rock (Arizona), USA

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Impossibly balanced rock in Chiricahua National Monument.

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  1. El Berrocal, Ortigosa del Monte, Segovia, Spain:

  2. Penas de Rodas
    In Lugo, Galiza, Spain


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