The Moeraki Boulders are one of 101-must do’s for kiwis and tourists in … is that the Moeraki Boulders started forming on the ocean floor over 60 million years ago and centuries of coastline erosion have revealed a spectacular view of these curiously large spherical boulders. If she's not plunging down the SEO rabbit hole, she's visiting some ancient site in Italy, where she currently lives in the middle of an active caldera. But, drive out to the area in the late afternoon to really make a trip out of it. It was a beautiful afternoon and I popped the back of the van open and put the kettle on for some hot water to take with me as I walked for a while down the beach towards the famous boulders. The hull of the canoe magically became a reef near the Waihemo River Mouth. Kimberly is a writer and the content manager for Historic Mysteries. I found it fitting that this be the first kiwi geologic landmark that I wrote about. The boulders are located on Koekohe Beach, between the towns of Moeraki and Hampden. The larger boulders are estimated to have taken 4 to 5.5 million years to grow, while 10 to 50m of marine mud accumulated on the seafloor above them. Proposals include tide action (rolling and wearing down), gravity, or factors of sedimentary pressure. They started forming 60 million years ago, kind of like a pearl. (“FINALLY! Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window), Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window), Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window), Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window), Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window), Click to share on Tumblr (Opens in new window), Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window), While you wait for sunset, go for coffee (I’m not on that bandwagon, but apparently some people like it) and dessert at, After you’ve successfully induced a sugar coma, take a quick 5-minute drive to the. A shattered Moeraki Boulder reveals a colorful core. As you can see from the photos below, the Moeraki Boulders are quite large, some reaching up to 15, 400 lbs (7 tonne) and can measure more than 9 feet across (3m). It’s a short walk over the beach before you reach the boulders. According to scientists, the formation of these concretions began approximately 60 million years ago within the muddy Paleocene marine sediments of the Moeraki Formation. Araiteuru, a large sailing canoe coming from Hawaiki was on a voyage South to find New Zealand’s sought after greenstone (pounamu). According to scientists, the formation of these concretions began approximately 60 million years ago within the muddy Paleocene marine sediments of the Moeraki Formation. There is so much to see over on this side of the country, Moeraki Boulders, Fleurs Cafe, Katiki Point lighthouse, Moeraki town and so much more! Large boulders shaped like nearly perfect … Damage seen on some of the softer boulders at Moeraki. The Moeraki Boulders were the first “Pinterest destination” I crossed off my list after arriving in New Zealand. They originally formed on the sea floor when the mudstone was accumulating during the early Tertiary period, some 60 million years ago. Some of the boulders weigh several tonnes and the largest ones can be over 2 metres wide! Kimberly will continue to venture around the world and write about the history she encounters. But in fact the Moeraki Boulders are concretions - formations created by hardening sea sediment -  that have been exposed through sea erosion Date from … The sediments containing the boulders would have been deposited very late in the global Flood or just afterward—about 4,500 years ago. The larger boulders are estimated to have formed over a period of 4 million years. Tom Hall/CC BY 2.0. Some were subglobular, [Quote continues…] 1850.] Stunning Moeraki Boulders at sunrise There are over 50 boulders along Koekohe Beach. One layer at a time, the boulders grew larger over the years. The largest of the spheres took up to 5 million years to grow to their fullest form. Moeraki's mysteriously spherical beach boulders have long captivated geologists and tourists alike. One such example is the phenomenon of the Moeraki Boulders which, through the years have been objects of absorbing interest to the thousands who have visited the locality. Accordingly, the Moeraki Boulders formation began on the ancient seafloor sediments 60 million years ago, during the early Tertiary period. 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. But interference with Te Kaihinaki peaked in the 70s, with a controversial plan to relocate them. They are almost perfectly round, some half-buried in the sand, others fully on top. 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. All rights reserved. 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. The name Moeraki comes from the Māori (the indigenous people of New Zealand), meaning “drowsy day.”. 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. Ahum. Off on another adventure we go! The most massive boulders have become estimated to take about 4 million years to get to the current size. There are more than 50 strewn like dinosaur eggs along the beach. Their goal was to find and bring back kumara sweet potato plants to grow back home. Change ), You are commenting using your Google account. Before scientific inquiry, humans viewed the world and nature from a magical and wondrous perspective. Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. These are known as types of concretions which are mineral-cemented masses that often form within layers of sediment. Some 60 million years ago, the concretions we know as the Moeraki boulders started forming on the ocean floor. Unlike the Otago Coast boulders, these stones formed within layers of volcanic ash in a process that scientists are still trying to understand. Wellington, NZ: Geological Society of New Zealand in Association with GNS Science, 2008. Georgia Guidestones: Who Paid for It and Why? How Were the Moeraki Boulders Formed? | Privacy Policy | Contact Us | DMCA Notice, This website uses cookies to improve your experience. Moeraki Boulders – Photo Credit: Donald Manlapaz, Moeraki Boulders – Photo Credit: Jason Chua. However, the scientific community is still debating the exact process that results in this smooth round shape. This steppe site is near the town of Shetpe. ( Log Out /  Over the years, the Moeraki Boulders have been taken as souvenirs and even turned into cement. 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. Macmillan, 1882. However, the region welcomes visitors who are always eager to catch a glimpse of the natural wonders. Does the Kaimanawa Wall Re-Write New Zealand’s History? Image Credit Flickr User RossHuggett Miscellaneous series 9. Each concretion began with an organic nucleus, “such as a leaf, cone, shell, fish-bone, or other relic of plant or animal” (Geikie:96). Appearing like a congregation of planets, the stones, with their sheer size and nearly perfect shapes, give birth to an alien landscape. They have inspired many legends. Let’s call it fate that I was just drawn to the beauty of New Zealand. Thus, the Moeraki fishing village oversees the care for its stone-dotted beach, which is constantly undergoing change and erosion. Not all concretions are round, although many of them that form in layers of sediment tend to be spherical. The Moeraki Boulders are located on Koekohe Beach, between the towns of Moerkai and Hampden – a 30 minute drive south from Oamuru and about an hour north from Dunedin. As the sedimentary rock layers the boulders formed in are were eroded away, the harder, more resistant concretions were left behind. It is an easy (and very scenic) drive on State Highway 1 from the north or south. However, documentation of the Moeraki Boulders did not take place until European involvement. This was one of the top items on my New Zealand bucketlist (fly around the world to look at weird rocks, go figure). However, most photos you see of the boulders from google or postcards are quite outdated. Our own mammalian ancestors during that epoch were mostly small and rodent like. The Boulders. Take a walk to the Moeraki Boulders – geological marvels, exposed by erosion of sedimentary rocks laid down from 13 to 65 million years ago.. How long will it take? Geikie, Archibald. They are concretions from the marine mudstone of the Paleocene Moeraki Formation, presumed to be accumulations of an outer shelf setting that stretches from Moeraki north to Oamaru. (New Zealand Department of Conservation). The Moeraki Boulders are concretions created by the cementation of the Paleocene mudstone of the Moeraki Formation, from which they have been exhumed by coastal erosion. Variably, they lie clumped in groups or as individuals scattered across the beach. It is ‘free’ to visit the boulders although there is a weird situation whereby if you want to reach the boulders by the boardwalk, you are supposed to pay $2 as the boardwalk is built, owned and maintained by the cafe onsite there. The cracked surface of this Moeraki Boulder creates a geometric or turtle-back design. Source: Wikimedia, Oren Rosen. The main body of the boulders started forming in what was then marine mud, near the surface of the Paleocene sea floor. Each concretion began with an organic nucleus, “such as a leaf, cone, shell, fish-bone, or other relic of plant or animal” (Geikie:96). Most of the Otago concretions are round – some of them almost perfectly – while others are more ovoid or slightly irregular in shape. However, theories include: Interestingly, the large stones are hardest at their outermost layers which are comprised of roughly 20 percent calcite. Interesting history topics are just a click away. We … The raw beauty of New Zealand has remained intact over the years, its natural glory still relatively unaffected, glimpses of which we could see during our drive through the South Island. 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. The sediments containing the boulders would have been deposited very late in the global Flood or just afterward—about 4,500 years ago. In it, Mantell showed the presence of a greater number of beach stones than there is today. See this news item. Sexiness of Stink: Historical Attraction to Body Odor. Who can argue with that? The underlaying sand of the boulders was slowly washed away by the wind and water moving the individual boulders towards the ocean. The Moeraki Boulders lie in Otago, on the east coast of South Island, New Zealand. Each time the ocean excavates a new boulder, the newly exposed concretion rolls down onto the beach to join the others. Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email. The stones themselves are decomposing and cracking, and a number of them now lie in shattered pieces across the beach. Here’s the official Katharina Moeraki Boulder Itinerary: Geological Society of New Zealand: 2003 Conference Field Trip Guide. Without resistance or lack of material from any one direction, the concretions were able to form equally and nearly perfectly from each directional point. others spherical; many were entire, whilst others were broken, and glittering with yellow and brown crystals of calcareous spar.”. 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. His work on Iguanodon had a significant influence on the study of dinosaurs. In 2013, scientists found a Late Cretaceous shark vertebrae in an outcropping of boulders at Koutu. 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. ALSO, (non-geology related) suggestion for anyone who plans to make a visit to the boulders… Go at sunset. Source: Wikimedia, Pseudopanax, public domain. To visit the boulders, head to Koekohe Beach, between Moeraki and Hampden on State Highway 1. The most accepted theory proposes that the equal availability of minerals in a liquid solution from all directions surrounding a nucleus allows for equal formation. Today, the shoreline is artfully arrayed with spheres that were preserved because of calcification that resisted erosion. There are currently over 50 boulders on the beach, the largest weighing around 7 tons. The larger boulders are estimated to have taken 4 to 5.5 million years to grow, while 10 to 50m of marine mud accumulated on the seafloor above them. There are initially forming in the ancient seafloor sediments in around 60 million years ago. An exceptionally round concretion in the Moeraki Boulders cluster in New Zealand. Beginning 65 million years ago, this rock formation spans about half of the tertiary period (through the Paleocene, Eocene and Oligocene) ending about 13 million years ago. There were many more boulders on the Moeraki beach, but the small and easy-to-transport rocks have been stolen over time, often to decorate gardens. The larger boulders are estimated to have formed over a period of 4 million years. The largest is over 2.2m in diameter and weighs more than 7 tonnes. Print. Depending on the tides, the boulders will either be high and dry or partially submerged. Post was not sent - check your email addresses! Walter Mantell was a politician and scientist of geology and paleontology. Inside some of the crumbling stones, the centers are hollow, perhaps having decomposed over time. Maori legends provide one explanation of the boulders’ creation, while science proposes others. So, my rock-loving self was still happy. Historic Mysteries is an Amazon Associate and earns from qualifying purchases. Erosion is part of it, but many have “walked away” as souvenirs. Subsequently, Geologic activity caused an uplifting of the mudstone out of the sea to create the cliffs along the beach. 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. Some of them remain partially encased by the surrounding cliffs, while others have completely revealed their beauty with patterned surface lines and colorful hollow cores. Fossilized clay and mud are found in the center, around which sediments such as calcite have accumulated. MANTELL ON THE GEOLOGY OF NEW ZEALAND. The Moeraki boulders are on NZ's South Island East Coast about 80 Km north of Dunedin, a nice day trip. People sometimes mistake the Moeraki Boulders for dinosaur eggs, alien remnants, or evidence of giants. © 2009-2021 Historic Mysteries. 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. To find out more: The Moeraki Boulders, 1997. Source: Pixabay, public domain. 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. From there I decided to head over to the famous Moeraki Boulders for a coffee and a bit of relaxing before journeying north. Legend has it that the boulders are the food baskets and gourds strewn across the beach and the canoe’s hull has become the reef that extends into the sea. Minerals began to precipitate around some nucleus, perhaps of an organic nature. A Continent on the Move: New Zealand Geoscience into the 21st Century. Weighing Human Souls – The 21 Grams Theory, Gases that expand when the organic centers decompose, Earthquakes or compaction that caused fractures. From the parking lot, visitors must take a short trek with some minor scrambling around rocks and down a makeshift ladder to get to the beach. Erosion of the cliffs around Koekohe Beach, uncovered the boulders. “Midway between the Bluff and Moeraki, the clay contains layers of septaria [concretions], varying from one to five feet and more in diameter. Maori legend refers to the Moeraki Boulders as the wreckage from a large Waka (sailing canoe) ?raiteuru. Koutu – Hokianga District, North Island, New Zealand. The Moeraki Boulders are huge spherical stones that are scattered over the sandy beaches, but they are not like ordinary round boulders that have been shaped by rivers and pounding seas. However, I do have a disclaimer: initially, it was a bit of a let down. The Pobiti Kamani Stone Forest of Bulgaria THEN, hurry over to catch sun set at the boulders. Sorry, your blog cannot share posts by email. Scientists believe the boulders to be calcite concretions which were formed an estimated 65 million years ago. Although the place is now protected, it continues to be plundered. It is home to gigantic round and irregular concretions averaging 3-4 meters in diameter. Crescere, means ‘to grow,’ and con, means ‘together.’ Hence, the stones are giant balls of sediments that have grown together over time in a process of cementation. Geological curiosities. They kind of look like big cannon balls, or alien orbs, but the reality is that they are “concretions that have been exposed through shoreline erosion from coastal cliffs” (according to the official Moeraki Boulders website). Graham, I. J. The boulders at Moeraki on the North Otago coast have speculated over for hundreds of years. Sedimentary particles and minerals, such as calcite, aggregated around the organic matter in concentric layers (layer upon layer). Taking around 4 million years to form their current size. Within the many meters of sediment, the boulders remained encased. On Moeraki beach you’ll count over 50 boulders of different sizes. Centuries of coastline erosion have revealed a spectacular view of these curiously large spherical boulders. The word ‘concretion’ comes from two Latin words. Fossilized animals have been found within some of the nucleus cores of the concretions. Change ), You are commenting using your Twitter account. Historic Mysteries provides captivating articles on archaeology, history, and unexplained mysteries. Maori ancestors occupied the vicinity of the Otago Coast for hundreds of years, beginning around the 13th century CE. We parked at the Moeraki Boulders car park, where there’s a café and (of course) souvenir shop.From there starts a walkway leading down to the beach. As each boulder weathers, the hard veins of calcite are exposed, giving them their geometric appearance. The Moeraki Boulders: Not Your Typical Beach Balls. As the sedimentary rock layers the boulders formed in are were eroded away, the harder, more resistant concretions were left behind. 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