The truth of Klerksdorp Spheres, and the mystery of Costa Rican spheres
July 21, 2015 1:51 PM   Subscribe

The Klerksdorp Spheres found near Ottosdal, South Africa, Moqui Marbles from Utah and Arizona, and the Moeraki Boulders on Koekohe Beach on the Otago coast of New Zealand all have something in common: they aren't puzzling ancient artifacts or possibly proof of otherworldly connections, but rather concretions, naturally occurring geologic features that are created in the same fashion as pearls. Archaeology Fantasies debunks the myths of the Klerksdorp Spheres, and also details what is know of the giant stone balls of Costa Rica, which retain some mystery to their creation and purpose.

There are notable groupings of concretions on Bowling Ball Beach, part of Schooner Gulch State Beach in northern California; Mushroom Rock State Park and Rock City in Kansas; fairy stones in Canada and marleka in Sweden; and even the giant Dinocochlea ingens formation is most likely a concretion that grew from corkscrew-shaped burrow (abstract with images; scientific article is paywalled). There is some debate whether the Martian spherules or blueberries are concretions or fragments of meteorites.

But the spheres of Costa Rica and Bosnia are something different. They are definitely man-made, and some believe the Bosnian spheres were actually melted and cast into spherical forms.
posted by filthy light thief (12 comments total) 22 users marked this as a favorite
Two final notes: the only pages I could find on "fairy stones" that had images were various crystal shops online, so I linked to a Google image search; and Archaeology Fantasies was previously linked on a post about Amelia Edwards, The Godmother of Egyptology.
posted by filthy light thief at 1:54 PM on July 21, 2015

Soundtrack for this thread
posted by Faint of Butt at 2:02 PM on July 21, 2015

Man, scientists are such killjoys.
posted by the uncomplicated soups of my childhood at 3:11 PM on July 21, 2015 [1 favorite]

I have a couple of larger pieces of those moqui marbles, my Mom the geologist said are dinosaur poop. I also have a jar of cave pearls. No secret powers for me but nice to have around.
posted by Oyéah at 5:12 PM on July 21, 2015

Shore Acres State Park, Oregon: [1] [2] [3] [4]
posted by polecat at 5:17 PM on July 21, 2015 [1 favorite]

Tektites are also cool.
posted by kinnakeet at 8:51 PM on July 21, 2015

Those remind me of geodes.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 9:34 PM on July 21, 2015

There are round concretions ,some more than 12 inches in diameter in the limestone in the beach cliffs of Santa Cruz California.
posted by boilermonster at 10:42 PM on July 21, 2015

There is something similar along the east end of the Erie Canal, in or around Hamburg, New York. You most easily can access them by walking down the canal itself, if I remember. It was a long time ago now, and unfortunately I have no pictures. They did prompt long arguments about how they were formed.
posted by newdaddy at 4:18 AM on July 22, 2015

As boilermonster said, they're just concretions. They're pretty common. I've seen lots of them (I'm a geologist), and they can be quite spherical - you just need a good homogeneous media to grow them in - the ones that are 'grooved' or flared in places are growing in porous media that have permeability/porosity differences. I've seen them personally from grape-sized to car-sized. I'll try to find the location of the big ones I've seen in France.

None of the links provide any evidence to the assertion that the Costa Rican and Bosnian ones are 'definitely manmade', and I challenge you to find any kind of scientific publication that states this.
posted by grajohnt at 4:42 AM on July 22, 2015 [1 favorite]

Man. Making this post sure took a lot of balls.
posted by yoink at 9:29 AM on July 22, 2015

giant stone balls of Costa Rica

Band name or user name?
posted by GenjiandProust at 9:43 AM on July 22, 2015

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