Sorry, your blog cannot share posts by email. Some of the boulders weigh several tonnes and the largest ones can be over 2 metres wide! The boulders at Moeraki on the North Otago coast have speculated over for hundreds of years. A number of the spheres are cracked and display a turtle-like mosaic. Hundreds of these nodules, which had been washed out of the undermined clay cliffs by the encroachment of the sea, were scattered along the beach, as represented in the sketch, fig. These are known as types of concretions which are mineral-cemented masses that often form within layers of sediment. These boulders are located on Koekohe beach. Mantell’s father, Gideon Mantell (1790-1852), was also a geologist and paleontologist. I’ve made three visits to the Moreaki Boulders and I know I haven’t seen the last of them. Without resistance or lack of material from any one direction, the concretions were able to form equally and nearly perfectly from each directional point. Here’s the official Katharina Moeraki Boulder Itinerary: Geological Society of New Zealand: 2003 Conference Field Trip Guide. The occurrence of septaria is a rather mysterious process and scientists are not exactly sure what causes them. Maori legend refers to the Moeraki Boulders as the wreckage from a large Waka (sailing canoe) ?raiteuru. However, documentation of the Moeraki Boulders did not take place until European involvement. As the sedimentary rock layers the boulders formed in are were eroded away, the harder, more resistant concretions were left behind. Variably, they lie clumped in groups or as individuals scattered across the beach. We showcase some of the very best photos of the Moeraki Boulders and the surrounding area on our Photos page.. Maori legend tells that the boulders are remains of calabashes, kumaras and eel baskets that washed ashore after the legendary canoe, the Araiteuru was wrecked at nearby Shag Point (Matakaea). Moeraki is a small fishing village on the east coast of the South Island of New Zealand.It was once the location of a whaling station. They range in size from about 1.5 meters to a little over 2 meters. Subsequently, Geologic activity caused an uplifting of the mudstone out of the sea to create the cliffs along the beach. The larger boulders are estimated to have formed over a period of 4 million years. Macmillan, 1882. The earthquake near Kaikoura in late 2016 has allowed similar boulders to be viewed following the uplift of the seafloor in that event. Erosion of the cliffs around Koekohe Beach, uncovered the boulders. Source: Wikimedia, Pseudopanax, public domain. The underlaying sand of the boulders was slowly washed away by the wind and water moving the individual boulders towards the ocean. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email. Wellington, NZ: Geological Society of New Zealand in Association with GNS Science, 2008. Questions about the universe sparked colorful myths and legends that are still intriguing even today, and the Maori legend about the stones on the Otago Coast is no exception. Change ), You are commenting using your Facebook account. Lime minerals accumulated over the core over time and it grew in to spherical shapes. Baskets and gourds that had carried eels and water also washed ashore, preserving the cargo for all time as the giant boulders along the Otago Coast of South Island. Let’s call it fate that I was just drawn to the beauty of New Zealand. Thieves break off and carry pieces of the boulders. Tom Hall/CC BY 2.0. Damage seen on some of the softer boulders at Moeraki. The Moeraki Boulders are a composite of mud, silt, and clay, held together by calcite, all of which formed under the surrounding cliffs before erosion etched the softer sandy material around the boulders, depositing them on the shore. One version of the story tells that long ago, the Kähui Tipua people sailed out on an expedition to the mythical land of Hawaiiki in their double-hulled waka (canoe) called the Arai Te Uru. The Boulders are about 40km (approx 30 minutes drive) … Moeraki Boulders – Photo Credit: Donald Manlapaz, Moeraki Boulders – Photo Credit: Jason Chua. Like the Moeraki Boulders, these are also spherical cannonball concretions. | Privacy Policy | Contact Us | DMCA Notice, This website uses cookies to improve your experience. As the sedimentary rock layers the boulders formed in are were eroded away, the harder, more resistant concretions were left behind. Moeraki is now most famous for its boulders; mysteriously spherical stones scattered across a beach. Interesting history topics are just a click away. There are initially forming in the ancient seafloor sediments in around 60 million years ago. On Moeraki beach you’ll count over 50 boulders of different sizes. MANTELL ON THE GEOLOGY OF NEW ZEALAND. From that vantage point, visitors can see the 60 million-year-old spheres that all began with a simple organic particle in the muddy seabed. Source: Wikimedia, pseudopanax, public domain. Tourists can walk the beach to get a close-up view. Each boulder weighs several tonnes and is up to two metres high.Scientists explain the boulders as calcite concretions formed about 65 million years ago. (“FINALLY! In a complex chemical process, the minerals cemented the particles together. They are now legally protected from removal or vandalism. The boulders are located on Koekohe Beach, between the towns of Moeraki and Hampden. The larger boulders are estimated to have formed over a period of 4 million years. I had no idea then that these boulders were in New Zealand. Fossilized animals have been found within some of the nucleus cores of the concretions. I first saw the Moeraki Boulders while browsing ‘New Zealand Attractions’ on Pinterest some time ago, and I just knew we had to get there. Centuries of coastline erosion have revealed a spectacular view of these curiously large spherical boulders. It took about 4 million years for the Boulders to get to their current size; There are over 50 boulders on the Koekohe Beach; The largest boulders weigh 7 tons and are 2-3 meters wide; There used to be many more Moeraki Boulders (based on old photos) but bad tourists took the smaller ones as souvenirs, so only those too heavy to move are left. His work on Iguanodon had a significant influence on the study of dinosaurs. Off on another adventure we go! I have visited the site many times & each time is different. Mysteries in the Plain of Jars, Laos. A storm engulfed the Arai Te Uru during the return journey and the hulled voyager wrecked off the Otago Coast at a place called Shag Point. As each boulder weathers, the hard veins of calcite are exposed, giving them their geometric appearance. They originally formed on the sea floor when the mudstone was accumulating during the early Tertiary period, some 60 million years ago. Miscellaneous series 9. Thus, the Moeraki fishing village oversees the care for its stone-dotted beach, which is constantly undergoing change and erosion. The Moeraki Boulders formed within a thick deposit of mud, silt and clay called the Moeraki Formation. Ahum. Each concretion began with an organic nucleus, “such as a leaf, cone, shell, fish-bone, or other relic of plant or animal” (Geikie:96). ( Log Out /  Legend of the Moeraki Boulders Because of long occupation by the Maori race, almost every physical feature, headland, bay or rock – was known to the Maoris by its proper name. Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. ALSO, (non-geology related) suggestion for anyone who plans to make a visit to the boulders… Go at sunset. The Moeraki Boulders: Not Your Typical Beach Balls. Note: They’re well known for their actual meals, but it is a tad bit pricey. Some have cracked open over time, revealing a gorgeous hollow-ish interior filled with quartz and some sort of orange mineral. So, my rock-loving self was still happy. However, the region welcomes visitors who are always eager to catch a glimpse of the natural wonders. The process continued and the concretions grew slowly over millions of years. Koutu – Hokianga District, North Island, New Zealand. While similar features are found around the world, these boulders are remarkable for their size, up to 2m diameter, and their almost spherical shape. The sediments containing the boulders would have been deposited very late in the global Flood or just afterward—about 4,500 years ago. With that being said, there are still quite a few, and from a geologic standpoint there is no denying the marvels that they are. But science has finally solved the mystery: the formation of these rocks began approximately 60 million years ago. ( Log Out /  The largest rocks are around 3 meter in diameter and weigh several tons. Taking around 4 million years to form their current size. These fractures on the outer layers have subsequently become filled with yellow and brown calcite, quartz, and dolomite deposits in a process known as secretion. What are the Moeraki Boulders? One said, “Have a cupcake then have another” and the other was a black and white photo of the Moeraki boulders. As the sedimentary rock layers the boulders formed in are were eroded away, the harder, more resistant concretions were left behind. The larger boulders are estimated to have formed over a period of 4 million years. Weighing Human Souls – The 21 Grams Theory, Gases that expand when the organic centers decompose, Earthquakes or compaction that caused fractures. It’s a short walk over the beach before you reach the boulders. Damage seen on some of the lake take place until European involvement open! Several tons and paleontologist roughly 20 percent calcite uplift of the boulders formed in are were eroded away the... It is a writer and the preservation of its resources although the place is now protected, it was politician... It fitting that this be the first kiwi Geologic landmark that I was just drawn to the legendary splendors on. History, and were formed in ancient sea floor are around 3 meter in diameter and weigh several.... Sandy, there is a rather mysterious process and scientists are not exactly sure what them... Guidestones: who Paid for it and Why erosion is part of it your below! 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