- Education and Science
Magnificent Monoliths Around the World
A monolith is a geological feature that is made up of a single massive stone or rock. The word “Monolith” is derived from the Greek word “monolithus” meaning one or single stone.
Presenting some of the magnificent naturally made monoliths around the world -
Uluru or Ayers Rock, Australia
Uluru also known as Ayers Rock was named by William Gosse in 1873. The rock dates back to 600 million years. It was originally under the sea but today it is seen 348 meters above the ground. An interesting fact to note is that the Uluru rock is buried 2.5 km below the ground.
Uluru rock is situated to the west of the Simpson Desert, not very far from the Red Center of Austalia. It is 3.6 Kms long and 1.9 Kms wide with a circumference of 9.4 km. The climb to reach the top of the monolith is 1.6 km. The surface of the rock is made of valleys, ridges, caves that are results of erosion that took place over a million years ago. The brilliant orange-red hue of the surface is due to the oxidation of the iron content in the monolith.
An amazing feature of the Uluru monolith is the change in colors that it undergoes from sunrise to sunset. The rock undergoes color changes ranging from an original terracotta hue to blue or violet at sunset to a flaming red in the mornings as the sun rises.
Sugar Loaf Mountain, Rio de Janeiro
Sugar Loaf Mountain is situated in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. It is located at the mouth of the Guanabara Bay on a peninsula that juts out into the Atlantic Ocean. The mountain rises to 396 meters above sea-level. The name Sugar Loaf is because this mountain resembles the shape of a sugar loaf.
The Sugar Loaf Mountain is 600 million years old made up of granite and quartz. In 1565 the Portuguese explorers founded the city of Rio de Janeiro at the foot of the Sugar Loaf Mountain.
Sugarloaf Mountain is one among the most sought after tourist destinations. People climb right up to the peak to get a spectacular view of Rio de Janeiro. Most people take the cable car from Praca General Tiburico while some others prefer the helicopter ride from Morro da Ucra that goes around the Sugar Loaf Mountain with spectacular views from all sides.
Rock of Gibraltar
The rock of Gibraltar is located off the south-west tip of Europe on the Iberian Peninsula. The Rock of Gibraltar is made out of limestone. The formation of this rock started during the Jurassic period about 200 million years ago. Gibraltar covers an area of 6.5 square kilometres. The highest point of this rock is 426 meters, and it has over one hundred caves.
The Rock of Gibraltar forms a peninsula projecting out into the Strait of Gibraltar from the southern coast of Spain. The Strait of Gibraltar divides Europe from Africa.
Rock of Gibraltar was supposed to be one of the Hercules Pillars and the other being the Jebel Musa. According to Greek legend, the two pillars were a part of a mountain range until Hercules tore them apart.
El Captain,Yosemite, United States
El Captain is a gigantic granite monolith located in the north of Yosemite Valley. It reaches 3000 feet in height. El Captain was named by the Mariposa Battlion in1851.
EL Captain has two faces, the southwest, and southeast. Between these two faces lies a protruding area called "The Nose," a route that all climbers take to climb El Captain. Today there are over 70 routes to climb El Captain in Yosemite.
El Captain is the largest single piece of granite stone in the world, even bigger than Rock of Gibraltar. This rock is a challenge for rock climbers.
The Devils Tower is located in North America, Crook County, Wyoming, near the Belle Fourche River.
Devil’s Tower is made of an igneous rock called Phonolite porphyry. It was formed about 65 millions of years ago. Although the Devil’s Tower is made up of igneous rocks, it was never a part of any volcano.
The Devil’s Tower was formed as magma or lava flowed up to the surface of the earth’s crust forcing itself through cracks and crevices of the sedimentary rocks. The magma cooled down in the form of condensed columns. This monolith was not visible for millions of years, it became visible as the forces of wind and water eroded the surrounding landscape.
The tower has a flat top with an area of 1.5 acres and has fluted sides. It is 867 feet high from the base and has an elevation of 1,558 meters above sea level. The color of the Devil’s Tower is a mix of grey and buff.
Devil’s Tower is famous for rock climbing. Each side of the mountain has climbing routes some of which are easy and some the toughest in the world.