Spectacular Natural Monoliths

Monoliths are geological features consisting of a single massive stone or rock that were formed in prehistoric times by violent eruptions, tectonic shifts or erosion. Here is a list of some of the largest and most recognizable monoliths on the planet.

Uluru, Northern Territory, Australia

Uluru is often referred to as the biggest monolith, but that is generally avoided by geologists. While the surrounding rocks were eroded, the rock survived as sandstone strata making up the surviving Uluru ‘monolith’.

By WeyfOwn work, CC0, Link

Devil’s Tower

The Tower is an astounding geologic feature that protrudes out of the prairie surrounding the Black Hills. It is considered sacred by Northern Plains Indians and indigenous people. Hundreds of parallel cracks make it one of the finest crack climbing areas in North America.

photo: Lletmotlv

Stone Mountain, Georgia,US

A spectacular granite monolith more than 5 miles (8 km) in circumference at its base. The summit of the mountain can be reached by a walk-up trail on the west side of the mountain or by the Skyride aerial tram.

User: (WT-shared) Jtesla16 at wts wikivoyage [CC BY-SA 4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Sigiriya, Sri Lanka

A massive column of rock nearly 200 metres (660 ft) high. According to the ancient Sri Lankan chronicle the Culavamsa, this site was selected by King Kasyapa (477 – 495 CE) for his new capital. He built his palace on the top of this rock and decorated its sides with colourful frescoes. On a small plateau about halfway up the side of this rock he built a gateway in the form of an enormous lion. The capital and the royal palace was abandoned after the king’s death. It was used as a Buddhist monastery until the 14th century.

By Ela112 at en.wikipedia (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

El Peñon de Guatape, Colombia

The Rock of Guatapé is a grantic rock remnant that has resisted weathering and erosion. On the northern face of the stone there are painted large white letters “G” and an incomplete “U”. Guatapé and El Peñol had long disputed ownership of the rock, and the residents of Guatapé decided to settle the matter by painting the town’s name on the rock in huge white letters. It did not take long for the residents of El Peñol to notice the work, and a large mob was assembled to stop it. Only the “G” and part of the “U” were completed. There are 740 steps to the uppermost step atop the building at the summit, a fact reinforced by yellow numbers also seen in the climb up the stairs.

By Camilo Sanchez at English Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

Zuma Rock, Nigeria

The large monolith rises spectacularly immediately north of Nigeria’s capital Abuja 725 metres (2,379 ft) above its surroundings. It was used for a defensive retreat by the Gbagyi people against invading neighbouring tribes during inter tribal warring.

By Jeff Attaway – http://www.flickr.com/photos/attawayjl/3329179458/Uploaded by MrPanyGoff, CC BY 2.0, Link

Sugarloaf Mountain, Brasil

The mountain is one of several monolithic granite and quartz mountains situated in Rio de Janeiro at the mouth of Guanabara Bay on a peninsula that juts out into the Atlantic Ocean. Rising 396 m (1,299 ft) above the harbor, its name is said to refer to its resemblance to the traditional shape of concentrated refined loaf sugar. It is known worldwide for its cable-way and panoramic views of the city.

By Halley Pacheco de Oliveira (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

El Capitan

El Capitan is a vertical rock formation in Yosemite National Park near its western end. The granite monolith extends about 3,000 feet (900 m) from base to summit along its tallest face and is one of the world’s favorite challenges for rock climbers and BASE jumpers.

By Mike Murphy, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

Peña de Bernal, Mexico

Peña de Bernal is a 433 m (1,421 ft) tall monolith located in San Sebastián Bernal, a small town in the Mexican state of Querétaro. Many people perform a pilgrimage to the small chapel located at the highest point accessible through hiking.

photo: Comisión Mexicana de Filmaciones


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