Could it be just a rock?


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“Could it be just a rock?”, Lake Superior Magazine (LSM), June/July 2000, pg.90.

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Could it be just a rock?

  1. 1. Vnw.PotxtCou,,ilidiltfr,U,USft,iRoeink?aI I feighing in at about200 pounds,thisnearlylA/ perfectsphereisabout1Binchesin diameterandV V wearsa belt of 28 regularrectangularmarks.One manwho hasseenthe rock describesthe materialas"flint," whileanexpertwho viewedthesephotostermsit"silica,"usuallycalled"quartz."The question at hand is this:Justwhat is this thing?This ancient and strange rock was found near themouth of the Brule River inWisconsin. This "perfect"spherehasone flat surfaceand, when seton a post, the belttilts at about a 23 degreeangle ... the angle,notesanobserver,of the planett own tilt. The rectanglesnarrowlyrange from l-by-l inches to l-6y-2 inches and thenumber 28 correspondsto the lunar calendar.Who - or what - formed this geological anomalynot far from the shoresof Lake Superior?Wewill rap ourexperts for some answers,but we want to tap you, theSARRYHANSONA mysteriousroundrockfoundnearthe mouthof the BruleRiverinWisconsinsitson aflatsur{ace(top) andbearsa"belt"of 28rectangles(left).4^readers,too. Sincewe dont know what it is, there is noright or wrong answer- yet. So send any ideasyoumight have or photos of your own geologic discoveriesaround the lake beforeAugust 1, 2000. Pleasee-mail( mail (PO. Box 16417,Duluth, MN 55816-0417) your suggestions.From thebatch of suggestions,we will draw one to receivea gift.Then staytuned for the October/November issuewhen we will let you know what you, and the experts,areguessing.2490 LakeSuperiorMagazine/JUNE-JULv2000r{
  2. 2. Vrrw.Pomrgfr,a-,til]ft,$,urillrl[1,ilIll/hat would createan almostperfectlyroundedTI/^.UU/flint-like rock with a,6elt of 28 regularUlEl, rectangles(the length of a lunar month) andone flat sidethat tilts the whole thing at a23-degreeangle{about the same+sthe ea+thstilt)?X4ry,nature might createit, according to the experts.LSM askedreadersand a few experts to look at thisrounded rock found near the mouth of the Brule Riverin Tisconsin (LSM JunelJuly). The experts answersweresurprisingbecausewhat they call a natural phenomenonseemsdownright unnatural. But geologistandarcheologist alike saythe rock doesnt look artificiallyaltered.This exampleof Hudson Bay or Thunder Bayareaflint may havehitched a ride with a south-boundglacierand got dumped in Tisconsin. The rectangularwear marks,while unusual, arenot unheard of. As forthe shapesbeing human-made, WaltOkstad, historianwith the SuperiorNational Forestin Duluth, Minnesota,saysthat asearly asthousands of yearsago, humans hadthe capability of carving consistentshapesinto stone.SoRectanglescirclethisunusualroundflintrock,whichhasoneflattenedside.Readersofferedtheirtuessesasto itsorigin.the relatively "random" sizing of the rectangles- some 1inch-by-1 inch, others more l-by-2 - probably indicatesnatureswork. Plus, if the rock is about 200 pounds, asone observerestimates,itt unlikely that it was movedaround by people or there should havebeenmoreartifacts nearby if the rock marked a standard gatheringsite. "But I could be wrong," cautions7alt, who keepsthis adageon his wall: The tragedyof scienceis that abeautiful hypothesis can be destroyed by an ugly fact.If the scientific explanationsof this round rock leaveyou flat, LSM readersoffer other explanations:"This is an old anchor for a gill net. Sandstonewasalsousedin the late 1800s.The belted groovescamefrom an anchor chain and would have been deeperwhilein use"suggestedone reader.Another was sure that this must be a navigationaldeviceusedby "Norske Men," known for unbelievablevoyagesnavigating with crude, but ingenious instruments.Among our other favorites- a sort of paleo-globecreatedby ancient Isle Royalecopper miners whoguessedthat the earth indeed was round. (They musthave only gotten asfar ascarving the equator!)(/hatever the true explanation, one fact remainsclear:Lake Superior nevertires of giving us new magicand mystery to explore.F.*