Balanced Rocks

I came across this balanced rock as I researched material for my “Ancient America” posts.

Balanced Rock, North Salem, NY.jpg

Daniel Case at the English language Wikipedia [GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

photo of Balanced Rock, North Salem, NY
Balanced Rock, North Salem, NY
10 July 2006

I wondered how this balancing feat was accomplished. Once again, I did some research and found out that there are two types of balanced rocks: man-made and naturally occurring.

Man-made Balanced Rocks

Some balanced rocks are made by people who engage in an art form called rock balancing. As the name implies, the rocks are held together by balance alone without the assistance of adhesives or other aids.

Source: “Rock balancing” – Wikipedia

Rock balancing (Counter Balance).jpg

By Leandro Inocencio (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

photo of balanced rocks using counterbalance
Counter Balance
16 October 2012, 10:49:07

 

Stone Balancing Sunset.jpg

By Saffron Blaze (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

photo of balanced stones at sunset
The photograph and the stone balancing acts are both my own. From beach stones at Fethiye, Turkey.
26 October 2011

 

Inukshuks on the Ottawa River.jpg

By see source (Flickr) [CC-BY-SA-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

photo of balanced rocks by Ottowa sculptor John Ceprano
Inukshuks on the Ottawa River in July 2005. Ottawa sculpt[o]r, John Ceprano, stacks up rocks every summer into interesting and pleasing shapes.
23 July 2005

Rockbalance England.jpg

Rockbalancer at en.wikipedia [GFDL, CC-BY-SA-3.0 or CC-BY-2.5], from Wikimedia Commons

photo of balanced rock by Lila Higgins
Balanced by Lila Higgins June 2007 http://www.flickr.com/photos/rockbalancer/ 4 July 2007 (original upload date)

To get an idea of how this is done, here is a video of rock sculpture and balance artist Bill Dan at work in Sausalito, California:

Naturally Occurring Balanced Rocks

Mother Nature is also a rock balance artist. According to Wikipedia, a balanced rock, which is also known as a balancing rock or a precarious border, “is a naturally occurring geological formation featuring a large rock or boulder, sometimes of substantial size, resting on other rocks, bedrock or on glacial till.”

Glaciers are responsible for the creation of some balanced rocks. Glaciers can move boulders from one area to another or on to other rocks, resulting in what are called glacial erratics. Glacial action (as well as landslides and avalanches) can also create perched blocks, which are large rock fragments partially hanging over the side of a slope or hill.

Glacial erratic, Norber – geograph.org.uk – 1503348.jpg

Gordon Hatton [CC-BY-SA-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

photo of a glacial erratic at Norber in Great Britain
Glacial erratic, Norber One of several hundred erratics which are spread across a low ridge at Norber, having been dumped there by a glacier which transported them from nearby Crummack Dale. This one sits nicely on a limestone plinth, and there is a theory that the erratics have protected the limestone underneath them from erosion. However there is some debate as to the natural erosion rate of the limestone compared to that which is protected.
12 August 2009
From geograph.org.uk

 

A079, Acadia National Park, Maine, USA, balanced rock, 2002.jpg

By Brian W. Schaller (Own work) [FAL], via Wikimedia Commons

balanced rock in Acadia National Park, Maine, USA
Acadia National Park, Maine, USA, balanced rock
2002

 

A083, Big Bend National Park, Texas, USA, balanced rock, 2004.jpg

By Brian W. Schaller (Own work) [FAL], via Wikimedia Commons

balanced rock in Big Bend National Park, USA
Big Bend National Park, Texas, USA, balanced rock
2004

 

Pedra Montada.jpg

By Leandro da Fonseca (feita por mim) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Pedra Montada in Brazil
Pedra Montada, em Guararema [Brazil].
19 September 2007
Not all naturally occurring balanced rocks are held together by balance alone. Wikipedia further notes that “some formations known by this name only appear to be balancing but are in fact firmly connected to a base rock by a pedestal or stem.” Rocks resembling balanced rocks are created by wind, water, and/or chemical erosion. Mushroom or pedestal rocks, which I discussed in my “Wind Carvings” post, are examples of these “faux” balanced rocks. Other examples of “faux” balanced rocks are hoodoos, which are “pedestal rocks sitting on taller spire formations.”

Source: “Balancing Rock” – Wikipedia

Brimham Rocks 8.jpg

Penny Mayes [CC-BY-SA-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Idol Rock - Brimham Rocks
Idol Rock – Brimham Rocks [Great Britain]
10 May 2004
From geograph.org.uk

Sphimx at Bisti badlands.jpg

By John Fowler from Placitas, NM, USA (Sphinx?Uploaded by PDTillman) [CC-BY-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

 'The Sphinx' mushroom rock
‘The Sphinx’ mushroom rock.
In the Bisti Badlands — De-Na-Zin Wilderness Area.
Northwestern New Mexico.
26 February 2010, 16:30
Source: Sphinx?

 

Ah-Shi-Sle-Pah WSA, NM.jpg

By John Fowler from Placitas, NM, USA (Ah-Shi-Sle-PahUploaded by PDTillman) [CC-BY-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Hoodoos at Ah-Shi-Sle-Pah Wilderness Area
Hoodoos at Ah-Shi-Sle-Pah Wilderness Area.
Rock formations in northwestern New Mexico.
“Lots of hoodoos there.”
28 June 2010, 14:52
Source: Ah-Shi-Sle-Pah

 

Bagildere Love Valley Cappadocia 1510862 3 4 Compressor HDR lvl rot1 Nevit.jpg

© Nevit Dilmen [CC-BY-SA-3.0 or GFDL], via Wikimedia Commons

hoodoos at "Love Valley" near Goreme, Cappadocia in Turkey
“Love Valley” near Göreme, Cappadocia (Turkey)
6 February 2014, 12:58:25

Before I go, here is a video showing more balanced rocks from around the world.

 

 

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