Moeraki Boulders Facts
- Most notably, the truly astounding Moeraki Boulders comprise an extraordinarily unusual geological feature. That holds true due to a fascinating occurrence. That’s the fact that the feature consists of a rather startling collection of large boulders. Furthermore, these lay along a section of beach in a particularly remote part of the world.
- Firstly, the great majority of the quite surprising boulders lie tightly grouped in large clusters. Secondly, however, this remarkable positioning only serves as the beginning of the distinctiveness of this feature. Also, and quite unfortunately, this magnificent example of the variability and unpredictability of nature appears to be slowly vanishing.
- W. B. D. Mantell sketched this remarkable formation in the year 1848. But, at that time, more of the Moeraki Boulders existed. This marked the first known sighting of the geological feature by a European. However, the indigenous Maori had long known of their existence. Fortunately for posterity, the section of beach that they appear on now forms a protected reserve.
Moeraki Boulders Physical Description
Quite unsurprisingly, the eye-catching Moeraki Boulders have long fascinated those who encounter them. Furthermore, this fascination includes the sheer physical form and variety of the structures. The great majority of these stones fall into two distinct size ranges. Approximately 30% of them measure between 1.6-3.3 ft (0.5-1.0 m) in diameter, while the vast majority of the rest all stay in the range of 4.9-7.2 ft (1.5-2.2 m).
In addition, most of these unique objects display a roughly spherical shape. Nevertheless, a rather small percentage of them possess a slightly elongated shape. The reason for the difference remains unknown. In addition, some of these geological marvels also possess large fissures, as well. Yet all of the Moeraki Boulders do have one basic factor in common. All of the boulders display a dark gray color, due to the particular nature of their composition.
Moeraki Boulders Location, Composition, and Origin
As will come as no surprise to those who appreciate such things, many mysteries still surround the incredible Moeraki Boulders. Perhaps this is fitting, given that the objects formed in an area of the world renowned for the splendor and variety of its natural environment. That’s because these fascinating and remarkable geological wonders formed in what now constitutes the beautiful country of New Zealand, off the coast of Australia.
Yet, while many mysteries surround them, researchers do know some facts about these marvels of Nature. For one, the incredible structures formed long ago, as septarian concretions. Secondly, each of them consists of a highly specific combination of elements. These include portions of silt, clay, and mud, bonded together by calcite. Additionally, beneath the extremely hard outer shell, they remain relatively soft, as they are less compacted.
A few have also broken open, and their interiors eroded by the elements. Further, the inner cores of many of these formations have linings of calcite crystals. The Moeraki Boulders were formed during the Paleocene Era as the calcite deposited in the mud on the seafloor. As further mud layers deposited, the pressures began their formation. The process required millions of years. Coastal erosion then exhumed them from the sea mud.