Stone balls of Costa Rica, theories of origin

Stone balls of Costa Rica, theories of origin

Clusters of huge spheres are being found in the Volga region, the Komi Republic, as well as on the beaches of California and New Zealand, the Franz Josef Land islands and in Costa Rica. RIA Novosti, 06.05.2020

MOSCOW, May 6 – RIA Novosti, Vladislav Strekopytov. In the Volga region, the Komi Republic, as well as on the beaches of California and New Zealand, the islands of Franz Josef Land and Costa Rica, clusters of huge spherical concretions are being found. People have always attributed them magical properties, sometimes they were associated with mysterious ancient civilizations. RIA Novosti tells where they really came from.Boulders of MoerakiThe spherical boulders of Moeraki on the coast of Otago in New Zealand are perhaps the most famous, thanks to spectacular photos on the Internet. The largest of them weigh several tons and reach a diameter of 2.5 m. The local legend says that the mythical canoe Arai-Te-Uru, which was returning from a distant land with pumpkins and other gifts of nature, crashed here. The sea threw petrified vegetables and baskets of goods ashore. Geologists have a more prosaic version: these are gigantic carbonate nodules which formed 50-60 million years ago in the muddy sediments of the coastal zone of the sea basin. The “seed” inside is usually a fossil, an ancient shell or carbonate accumulation to which calcium or calcite carbonate has been pulled down. The decomposition of organics creates an alkaline environment around itself, and calcium contained in the pore water is deposited as calcite, which cements the sand and silt around the “henhouse. As a result, sealed nodules – spherical formations more resistant than the surrounding rocks – are formed in the sandstones, shales, and mudstones.Eventually, the mudstone layers are washed away by the surf, and the nodules are exposed to the surface. The waves worked them over, giving them a perfectly spherical shape.Costa Rica’s stone spheresPetrospheres of Costa Rica are also widely known. One of them is even depicted on the local banknote. More than three hundred stone spheres have been counted in the delta of the Diquis River on the Pacific coast. They are up to 2.57 meters in diameter and weigh up to 20 tons.Some are carbonate nodules like the Moeraca boulders, but there are also man-made ones made of harder rocks – gabbro and granodiorites.Archaeological excavations of settlements that existed in the Diquis Delta from the 4th century BC to the 16th century showed that petrospheres are associated with the so-called Chirica period (9th to 16th centuries). They even found stone tools used to work the stone. Archaeologists have found that stone spheres were placed in front of the entrance to the dwelling, sometimes on both sides. Apparently, this indicated a high social status. In the burials were also found small balls – a diameter of seven to ten centimeters.Perhaps, say the scientists, the Indians, seeing the natural spherical carbonate nodules, made them a cult object and themselves began to produce balls of rounded boulders of harder rocks.Broad geography of stone ballsBut man-made balls of Costa Rica – an exception. Usually we are talking specifically about carbonate nodules. There are many places on the planet where sedimentary deposits accumulated and aggregates of solid minerals formed in their thickness around organic remains. There are spherical boulders in the Torysh tract on the Mangyshlak Peninsula, Pribalkhash in Kazakhstan, Moon Valley in Argentina, the Gulu area in southwest China, Kettle Point on Lake Guron in Canada, Rock City National Park in Kansas, Bowling Ball Beach in California, and Shale Hollow Park in Ohio, USA. In Russia – on Chump Island in the Franz Josef Land archipelago, in the Volgograd region, on the Izhma River in the Komi Republic, in Krasnoyarsk Krai, Kuzbass, Yakutia, and many other places.

Novgorod Kremlin Dytynets', Veliky Novgorod

And everywhere it is sandstone impregnated with carbonate cement.Scientific cluesAlthough the general principle of formation of carbonate nodules is clear, much remains to be understood. How fast do they grow? Why such a regular shape? Why does it stop growing? Scientists at Nagoya University in Japan under the direction of Hidekazu Yoshida have been working on these questions for years.Studies in Japan, England, and New Zealand have shown that even the largest nodules form very quickly – within a few decades. The main mechanism is the counter diffusion transfer of hydrocarbonate ions HCO3- arising from decomposition of organic matter and calcium Ca2+ from seawater that soaked the unconsolidated bottom sediment. Earlier, using the method of scanning analytical X-ray microscopy, it was found that the growing nodule is separated from the host rock by the so-called reaction zone, where diffusion exchange reactions take place. If there are no obstacles in its way, it moves uniformly in all directions from the center. Hence the spherical shape. And growth stops when the core runs out of carbon.The largest known carbonate nodules to date are the Rock City Boulders in Kansas, which are three to six meters in diameter. But they are also the least dense, so they are more prone to erosion and do not look as spectacular as their perfectly polished counterparts from New Zealand or Champ Island.In a recent study, Japanese scientists proposed to determine the age of the stone balls by strontium isotopes – an impurity of calcite, the main mineral of carbonate nodules. This is especially relevant when the parent rocks in which the nodules were located have been completely eroded away or destroyed by erosion.

Chiefdom settlements and stone balls of the Diquis tribe, Costa Rica – an overview

In the late 1930s, unusual ball-shaped stone boulders were found in Costa Rica. Their diameter ranged from 10 centimeters to more than 3 meters, the weight of the largest balls up to 20 tons. In all, more than three hundred round boulders were found in Costa Rica, but this number is not exact, as many of them were distributed to various institutes, museums and schools. Many of the stone spheres were broken by treasure hunters, who thought that there were some jewels inside the spheres.

Bru-na-Boin burial mounds in the river bend

However, as it turned out later, similar finds have been found in other places around the world: Germany, Chile, Kazakhstan, Brazil, and Russia. But the spheres of Costa Rica, unlike the others, are almost perfectly spherical in shape, and their surface is very smooth and even. How it was possible to treat the stones so well is not clear even to modern researchers, because the age of the mysterious artifacts is about 12,000 years.

It is interesting that stone spheres have not been scattered chaotically, and were in groups from 3 to 50 boulders. Moreover it has appeared that spheres are made in different geometrical figures: squares, triangles.

Proposing theories about the origin of stone boulders in Costa Rica, the opinions of scientists and researchers are divided into two camps: natural and artificial origin.

Proponents of the first camp believe that the stones acquired this shape due to volcanic activity. But this theory has encountered many contradictions and has fallen by the wayside.

The theory of artificial origin claims that the spheres of Costa Rica are the result of human activity. However, even this version does not reveal the curtain of secrets, and raises even more questions: With what tools could be used to carve huge stones with such precision? How were they moved and arranged into geometric figures? What were they for?

And of course, like many other mysterious objects on earth the boulders have a theory of origin, associated with an alien intelligence.

Giant stone balls of Costa Rica: the mystery of the Indian tribes

Tropical forests have long held secrets unknown to modern mankind, one of which was the discovery of mystical stones. The giant stone spheres of Costa Rica became world famous after the release of the movie about Indiana Jones. For science, however, the origin of these strange structures has remained a mystery.

History of the discovery

The archaeological site was found relatively recently – about 50 years ago. For a long time, the mysterious spheres were hidden in the wild impenetrable jungle. During the cutting of trees for plantations in 1948, workers stumbled upon the round stone sculptures. Scientists were immediately interested in the findings. Several hundred spheres had different sizes: the largest reached three meters in diameter and weighed almost 16 tons, while the smallest did not exceed 10 cm. Deciding to look at the find from a helicopter height, the researchers were amazed: the balls were arranged in groups of 3 to 45 pieces in the form of geometric shapes. These were circles, squares and triangles, stretching for several kilometers. At once it became clear that spheres have been stacked by people, but it is not clear with what purpose, and how stone sculptures have got to this district.

The stone spheres of Costa Rica. Theories of origin

Plaza España in the south of Seville, detailed description

The spheres all have a precise rounded shape, which can only be created by using measuring equipment, and therefore the spheres are the work of man. According to analyses, the spheres are 1500 years old. During this period, Costa Rica was inhabited by the Mayan tribes. Scientists believe that the Indians used the stone processing technology, which is not known to modern mankind. Excavations in the area of finds showed that the balls were brought here through impassable swamps and jungles from the quarries, as no tools were found in the vicinity. Scientists have put forward a number of hypotheses trying to explain how the stone spheres of Costa Rica appeared among the wild forests.

  1. The theories of the origin of the spheres vary:
  2. The stone spheres are arranged in the form of a kind of constellation . This combination was necessary for astronomical observations to help calculate the time of the beginning and end of agricultural work.
  3. Ancient civilizations had the most powerful military equipment . The spheres could serve as nuclei for throwing instruments. The geometric arrangement of the spheres may have been necessary for training activities on the range.

Some scholars believe that the stone spheres represent a connection with alien beings . The delimitations in the form in which the stones are arranged are a kind of landing strips designed for space objects.

The manufacturing process

Scientists believe that the Costa Rican stone spheres, whose theories of origin are still unproven, were made of stone blocks by machining and grinding. The stone is easily chipped by an abrupt change in temperature. To do this, the workpieces were heated with charcoal and then cooled sharply with water. The excessive pieces were chopped off by hitting the stone with harder materials. When the boulders were nearing completion, they were sanded down with sand or leather. The result was a perfect round shape. Inaccuracies were not detected even when measured with a tape measure and a plumb line. This shows once again that the Indians had a good mathematical and physical knowledge of stone working.


The way in which the stone spheres were transported to the place where they were found remains unsolved. According to researchers, this distance was tens of kilometers through impassable swamps, rivers and forests. Without special transport it is almost impossible to move the giant stone spheres weighing 16 tons. Analysis of some of the spheres showed that they are made of shell rock and limestone, which are found on the banks of the river Dicvis. And this meant that the heavy boulders were transported deep into the jungle upstream for a distance of 50 km. Unfortunately, no answers to these questions have yet been found.

Statue of Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Scientists who made reports to UNESCO after a thorough study have not come to a common opinion and could not give a precise answer where the giant stone spheres of Costa Rica came from. Therefore, the finds have not yet been added to the World Heritage List.

Nine new sites are on the World Heritage List: Dickies Tribe orbs, Stevens Clint and others

The World Heritage Committee inscribed sites in the Russian Federation, Costa Rica, Vietnam, India, the Philippines and Denmark this morning. The Committee also approved the extension of a site in China and two transboundary sites in Belarus and Poland, as well as Germany and Denmark.

The new sites include two cultural sites, one mixed (natural-cultural) site, and six natural sites:

Settlements of Chiefs and Stone Balls of the Pre-Columbian Diquis Tribe (Costa Rica). The site includes four archaeological sites located in the Diquis Delta of southern Costa Rica and considered unique evidence of the complex social, economic, and political systems of the period (500-1500 AD).

The monuments include artificial mounds, paved areas, burial sites and, most importantly, a collection of stone spheres ranging in diameter from 0.7 to 2.57 meters, the purpose, use and manufacture of which remain largely a mystery. The spheres are remarkable for the perfection of their shape, number, size, density and preservation in their original locations. The orbs have been buried for centuries under a thick layer of sediment, thus avoiding the looting from which the vast majority of Costa Rica’s archaeological sites have suffered.

Chang An Landscape Complex (Vietnam). Chang An, located on the south side of the Red River Delta, is a picturesque area framed by steep, almost vertical cliffs, with numerous karstic occurrences and valleys that go under water in places.

When studying the highest caves that complement the local landscape, traces of human activity were found, which are about 30 thousand years old. They testify to the presence of ancient hunter-gatherers in the area and their adaptation to changes in the climate and environment. In addition, the site includes Hoa Lu, the ancient capital of Vietnam in the 10th and 11th centuries, as well as temples, pagodas, rice paddy landscapes, villages and places of worship.

The Great Himalayan National Park (India) is located in the western part of the Himalayas, in the state of Himachal Pradesh in northern India.

The site is characterized by high mountain peaks, alpine meadows, and riverine forests. The 90,540-hectare site is home to several rivers fed by meltwater from high mountain glaciers and eternal snows, and contains watersheds that are vital to the millions of people who live in the lower reaches of the rivers. The Greater Himalayan National Park Conservation Area includes monsoon-damaged forests and alpine meadows that occupy the slopes of the front range. The protected area located in this part of the Himalayas is exceptionally rich in biodiversity, including 25 forest types as well as numerous species of fauna, some of them endangered. As such, the site is extremely important for biodiversity conservation.

The Pyramid of Austerlitz, detailed description and photos

The Hamiguitan Mountain Range Nature Reserve (Philippines) is a mountain range extending from north to south along the Pujada Peninsula in the southeastern part of the “biodiversity corridor” of Eastern Mindanao.

The nature reserve is located between 75 and 1,637 meters above sea level and provides essential habitat for a number of rare plant and animal species. The site is characterized by both terrestrial and aquatic habitats located at various altitudes. Endemic flora and fauna as well as endangered plant and animal species, eight of which are found only in the Hamiguitan Mountains, among them the famous Philippine eagle and Philippine cockatoo, are represented in this reserve.

Karst Sediments in South China (China). Extension of the Karst Sediments of Southern China World Heritage Site in 2007.

Karst deposits in South China are one of the most spectacular examples of karst landscape in humid tropical and subtropical climates. The extended site encompasses an area of approximately 50,000 hectares. The extended site includes 12 elements in four provinces (Guizhou, Guangxi, Yunnan, and Chongqing) and covers a total area of 176,228 hectares. The site includes the most typical forms of karst terrain, including tower, conical, and karst, as well as other notable landforms such as natural bridges, gorges, and spacious caves.

Stevns Clint (Denmark). This geological site includes a 15 km coastal area framed by sheer cliffs with traces of fossilized organic matter.

The object is outstanding evidence of the effects of the fall of the Chicksulub meteorite, which occurred at the end of the Cretaceous period, some 65 million years ago. Scientists, for the most part, believe it caused the most recent mass extinction in history, including the extinction of the dinosaurs and more than 50% of life forms on Earth. Traces of precipitation from the ash cloud from the meteorite impact can be seen at the site. The main trace of the meteorite’s impact with Earth is on the seafloor off the coast of the Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico. Unique fossils containing a number of complex organic compounds that formed can also be observed at Stevens Clint.

Watt Sea (Germany/Denmark). An extension of the Watt Sea site (Germany/Netherlands), which was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 2009.

The Wadden Sea is considered the largest single system of sandbanks and wadts (seabed areas inundated at high tide and exposed at low tide) in the world. With the expansion, the boundaries of the site now encompass most of the Danish Watt Sea Conservation Area and the expanded marine section of the Watt Sea National Park in Lower Saxony, Germany.

And finally, Belovezhskaya Pushcha (Belarus/Poland) – the territory of the transboundary site was extended on the Polish side, but, alas, reduced on the Belarusian side.

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