The 10 Most Not-So-Puzzling Ancient Artifacts: The Grooved Spheres


I’ve seen this article several times now, and I meant to address it the first time, but then I got distracted by something shinny…er I mean work?

Either way, the biggest reason I let it go was that I wasn’t terribly concerned about it. I mean, these things are so obviously geofacts or frauds, who in their right mind would believe them? Then I saw this same article come across my feed on Linked-In, it kinda made me sad. So, to make myself feel better, I will explain why these 10 ‘puzzling’ artifacts are not so puzzling after all.

Sadly, as with a lot of things, it’s easy to put a lie or misinformation out there, it’s twice as difficult to explain why they are wrong. So we’ll be looking at each of these “artifacts” one at a time. Starting with:

The Grooved Spheres

Grooved Sphere
The most common image of the Grooved Spheres

There is a phenomenon in the human brain called Pareidolia. This particular event is what causes us to see shapes in the clouds, faces on trees, and the Virgin Mary on toast. What’s that got to do with grooved spheres you ask? Well, the long and short of it is, Pareidolia is a fancy way of saying, we see what we want to see, and the people hyping the Grooved Spheres want to see what isn’t there.

Those who I would not describe as experts want these stones to be something otherworldly, something strange, and inexplicable. The problem is that experts have explained them, and they are rather worldly, but still cool.

The major claims about the Spheres is that they are perfectly spherical [1], grooved [1], made of metal [1], are harder than steel [2], rotate on their axis [2], sing the theme from Star Trek, and are rather boss DJ’s…Ok I made the last two up, just in case you can’t tell.

The glaring problem with most of these claims is, as usual, the lack of evidence to back them up. Not to mention there only seems to be a few ‘sources’ that just get repeated over and over again, without being fact-checked. One of which is the ever creative Weekly World News [2].

When you ask actual Geologists about these ‘puzzling’ Spheres, you get some very un-puzzling answers.

These were pretty much debunked in 1996 [3] by Paul V. Heinrich, a research associate at the University of Louisiana. He did some extensive research into the Spheres, analyzing their structures, and even cutting a few in half.  He found the Spheres to be completely natural. Lets looks at what he found.

Lets start with what the Spheres are actually made of; they consist either of hematite (Fe2O3), or wollastonite (CaSiO3) mixed with minor amounts of hematite and goethite (FeOOH) [2]. The Spheres found in unaltered pyrophyllite (Al2Si4O10(OH)2) consist of pyrite (FeS2) [2].

Geologists agree that these little Spheres are actually concretions formed in either volcanic sediments, ash, or both [2]. What causes the groves, simply put, is the formation process itself. The material the concretion forms in is softer than the concretion, and so when the softer material erodes away, all that’s left is the imprint it made.

For example, think of making a sand-mold candle. If you’ve never done this before let me explain. To make a sand candle the first thing you do is find some wet sand, like you would on the beach, or in a kid’s sand box. Then you press a shape into the sand, which is why it needs to be wet so it will hold it’s form. Next you pour melted wax into the mold you formed in the sand, add a wick, and let the wax harden. After the wax is all hard, you scoop it out of the sand, brush off the excess, and depending on your artistic ability, you have a lovely molded candle!

Let me tie this together for you, what you just did with the candle is similar to what happens when concretions form. When you poured the wax into the mold, the wet sand was the more stable, harder structure. Once the wax hardened, the reverse was true. But because the wax was hardening inside the sand, the sand left an imprint of itself on the wax. You’ll notice on your lovely new candle that on top of the shape you intentionally made, there are lots of little  bits of sand stuck in the wax. When you brush those off they will leave behind cavities in the wax. This is how the groves in the stones formed.

It really is that simple, and that cool. The Grooved Spheres are quite natural, but the formation process it takes to form them is very interesting and the end product is obviously very cool to look at.

As can be seen, these are hardly ‘perfect’ spheres. W block is 1 cm squared for scale.

Also, since this is a natural process, the Spheres are hardly perfectly spherical. This is evident in the pictures of the Spheres themselves. They are spherical in nature, round and grooved, but not perfectly. So there goes that claim, debunked by the pictures offered by the people making the claim.

None of these are ‘perfectly’ spherical. W block is 1 cm square used for scale.

So, we know what the Spheres are made of, we know how they are made, and we know what they look like…let’s adress the more fantastical claim that they rotate all by themselves on an axis.

This one is perhaps the quickest bit to debunk, it seems the whole rotation thing is from a misquote from Roelf Marx, the former curator of the Klerksdorp Museum. He reports that he was misquoted in regards to these objects when he was interviewed [3]. The fabricated quote has Marx saying that the objects rotated by themselves in vibration-free display cases in the Klerksdorp Museum. Rather, Marx stated that they rotated precisely because of the numerous earth tremors generated by underground blasting in local gold mining [3].

Similar claims about NASA’s bafflement over the Spheres are likewise unsupported [2].

This one looks like the Death Star. That proves something right?

So it seems none of the puzzling claims about the Spheres hold any water, but this article continues to make the rounds every so often. Why? More importantly, why do people give it credence?

The first glaring problem with the article is that it’s on multiple websites, all of them conspiracy type sites, and not one of them offer an author for the article. The second issue is, nothing that is in the article is backed up by citation, even if it’s a crappy source, cite your work people!

I think the third issue here is most people don’t know what a well researched, well written article looks like these days. I will blame the internet for this and a very lazy media. So I make this plea to the internet population, please don’t assume that an article is full of facts just because it’s on the I-net! Be critical, look for sources, look for citation, ask yourself if the article backs up its claims with equivalent evidence.

I’ve laid out for you here why the Grooved spheres are natural , really cool, and unique occurrences, but natural all the same. These are geofacts , natural occurring mineral objects that are often confused for being man made. Why? Because of good old fashion Pareidolia.


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Want more on this topic? Go to Reviews: The 1o Most Not So Puzzling Ancient Artifacts.

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[1] “The 10 Most Puzzling Ancient Artifacts.” Accessed April 2 2012.

[2] “Klerksdorp sphere.” Accessed April 2 2012.

[3] 1996.  Heinrich, Paul.  “The Mysterious Origins of Man: The South African Grooved Sphere Controversy.” Accessed April 2 2012.

75 thoughts on “The 10 Most Not-So-Puzzling Ancient Artifacts: The Grooved Spheres”

  1. My brother suggested I might like this web site. He was totally
    right. This post truly made my day. You can not imagine simply
    how much time I had spent for this information!

  2. There are a few things that I find a bit troublesome with your article.

    1st: You point out that there are only a handful of sources that proclaim these to be what they are. However you only cite one resource yourself. As you said, there are few reports on these, but that is true for both pro’s and con’s as I think you clearly made evident. That being said, this argument doesn’t hold any water either way.

    2nd : You argue that these balls were created by a process called “concretions”. The interesting thing about this theory is, if you take a look at all of the pictures of what a typical concretion object looks like, none of them come close to resembling what these look like. More importantly, none of them have the types of lines circling them that these do. Again, your argument holds little water.

    3rd: From everything I’ve read about these objects, there are no statements that say that these are “perfectly spherical objects”. There is a big difference. What they do say is that they are perfectly balanced objects that would be difficult to replicate even with today’s technology. THAT information was provided by NASA, which I would say, is a pretty credible resource. This argument is also holds no water.

    4th: I’m not sure where you found the information about these things rotating by themselves but from reports I’ve read, they do NOT rotate by themselves. They do however rotate for an incredibly long time due to the fact that they are so well balanced.

    Lastly, I find it almost ironic that you bring up the phenomenon of “Pareidolia”. Keep in mind that phenomenon can also cause people to completely ignore the truth as well. If you assume that everything around you should conform to a certain set of rules, and that those rules can never be altered, you will see exactly what you want to see regardless of whether it is the truth or not.

    Now, with all that said I’m not going to jump on the “OMG these things are from Martians”, band wagon. I have no idea what they are or how they came be. I do believe these are most certainly some kind of strange anomaly that need to be studied more carefully and not just written off simply because they don’t conform to what science has claimed to be the “truth” about our Earth and its history.

    1. I can tell by some of the points you’re trying to make here that you have access to a resource that I do not. As I have cited all of my sources, can you provide links or the titles to yours so I can look them over?

    2. I have to agree with you pete, on all points. Which leaves me with nothing to comment. Thank you for using my words exactly. BAM 😉

    3. I really need you to either cite your source or provide links to the things your referencing. Otherwise, there is no way to continue this discussion as I have no ability to evaluate your rebuttal. That said, simply repeating that my claims hold on water and then not providing evidence to support that statement is unhelpful.

      1. Right, You do know Erich Von Daniken created a whole AMUSEMENT PARK devoted to his looney ideas. So who’s looking for attention again?

    4. I know this is an old article, but what Pete says is a much more open minded point of view. Just as there are UFO “nuts” or “freaks”, there’s a whole opposite bunch that are so hard-lined and narrow minded that everything in this world has to be “black and white”. They lack any sense of adventure, imagination or creative out of the box thinking. Its the creative thinkers that eventually change the world. Conformity leads nowhere.

    5. Where do idiots come from? I came here from Jason Colavito’s website. You all must have come because Erich von daniken or Graham Hancock told you to so you can troll. Archyfantasies , how do you do it to put up with these cretins?

    1. So nothing can be known, then? There is a perfectly rational explanation on one side, and absolutely zero on the other, and you go with the zero?
      Well, alrighty, then.

  3. Great website! Very funny to read.

    Also, I agree with Pete, there are perhaps assumptions made on both sides.

    If you guys somehow made contact and worked together you could produce fantastic youtube series that would blow both sides away! Maybe be two parts that don’t see eye to eye, debunking from both directions until only the skeleton of truth remains. ( with all the funny twists in between preserved, especially the face losing parts )

    I would personally love to see the faces of the authors that build their entire Ancient Aliens and other myth theories on artifacts, when their theories are totally debunked. ( But be gentle! Give them a small glimmer of hope. We still wanna read their funny stories in the future. )

    Also, I would love to see the faces of the Debunkers when they by accident, in their crusade to debunk crackpot theories, stumbles upon their own methods of debunking, or even a real ancient “alien” artifact.

    Keep up the great work! Don’t stop, please, even if you are debunked yourselves!
    This can be better than Monty Python’s flying circus. I would pay good money to watch this series.
    “For every crackpot … “

  4. Nitpicking reply, no insult intended.

    Your use of the word pareidolia is a bit off. That term is only used when the mind is looking for human, or animal, characteristics, in something which is inanimate. However, those spheres have no human, or animal, characteristics… Which I can see. A more suitable term would be, apophenia, giving something meaning from random data. Pareidolia is a type of apophenia, but the reverse isn’t necessarily true.

    I’d not have wasted our time, but I thoroughly enjoyed your article very much. Keep up the good work.

  5. Unfortunatly there are still people who can’t see that these are natural as can be seen in some of the comments. This is a shame as nature is fascinating in It’s own right. You don’t need mysterious explanations for odd shaped rocks.

  6. I’m a rock hound, always looking for the few stones in the gravel bed that are unique. In my area there are lots of fossils, trace fossils and sandstone concretions. And, once in a long while, a pyrite concretion turns up. There really is something about these little formations that causes a shiver to run down your spine. They’re not otherworldly, just undeniably phenomenal. Like Siamese strawberries or misshapen vegetables only much older and less familiar. The texture, colour and weight of these rocks are also unusual, adding to the feeling that they are something very strange.

  7. Your explanation is far too obtuse, in my opinion, and your logic is flawed. Science always tries to rationalize the unexplainable with scientific theory, just as religion tries to explain by saying that it is miraculous. Both rationalizations come up short. Sand would not leave perfect, evenly-spaced grooves unless someone intentionally carved them that way. Things do not randomly occur with such precision. Sure, it’s a nice way to rationalize what your psyche cannot accept, “Oh, look, we can use scientific jargon to explain it away, so we don’t have to face the truth of the implications…” Ent! Wrong answer! Rationalization is still rationalization, any good alcoholic will tell you so. You can’t accept the fact that something cannot be simply explained away so easily, and so you invent explanations which seem justified in your own opinion, and then attempt to pass them off as fact. Truth is, there are a lot of secrets, and a lot of misinformation and disinformation deliberately designed to pacify the public, lest serious inquiry into the actual truth be undertaken on a mass scale. The more humans awaken, the less control the overseers have over the masses, and they couldn’t allow that to happen, now could they?

    1. Comments like this always make me wonder what “truth” do the commentors think is being deliberately hidden here? To what purpose is this truth being denied, and what alternative world do the commentors think would exist if this stuff was true?

      1. the truth that most speak of (that the one’s in charge hide) is the real ancient civilizations are much older than what we are told. the reason for the lie is to still have control on us. if we found out that we had older civilizations that were not held back by money and religion and were much more advanced than us then we would go back to that way and the big time moneymakers that are in charge of this earth would would lose their power.

      2. I don’t even know how to respond to this.

        Who are “The one’s in Charge”? What awesome technology do you think is being hidden? If it was so awesome, why did it go away? Where did it go?

        There’s just too many questions there for that to be real.

    2. Oh but thank god we have you to tell us the truth! I am really glad our “overseers” can’t control the mighty spiritusursus! You have pulled the wool away from this “sheeple” They can keep all the worlds secrets from everybody but you and your enlightened cavalcade of “truth seekers” . “Oh look, I can use a bunch of words with no reference to any real science to make up stories about fairies and aliens and reptile men” Ent! Wrong Answer! You present an argument with no references, no logic, and no real point. Go hang out with your alcoholic buddies and make up stories about how aliens made round stones to be used as ball bearings in an intergalactic roller skating ring in Africa. I mean you are the only super smart human who knows the “real” truth.

  8. I’m okay with your explanation with how the spheres were formed, to a point. Nature does some pretty cool things over a long period of time. The ice sheets did some awesome damage to the landscape in North America, which can be seen in large stone slabs in Central Park (NYC) when they dragged rocks over the slabs and left some pretty awesome grooves. Granted these are not considered “other worldly”, or unexplainable, but just that nature can do some pretty wild things given enough time and the right materials. My question with your explanation of the spheres is, what in nature could make something round and create grooves in the middle that are continuous all the way around the object? For the most part, I’m okay with round, and I’m okay with grooves, but putting the two together is pretty wild to tie them together with the sand and wax mold example. Can you be more specific of what you believe made the spheres?

    1. The sand and wax model is just a way to explain the phenomenon. The reality is that it’s a very slow process of deposition and erosion. The materials that solidify and remain are “harder” than the materials that erode away.

      Also, most of the “spheres” are not perfectly round. In my post I show several that are oblong, amebic, and pear shaped. They also are not made of metal, as a prior commitment suggested.

      1. I get that they are not perfectly round and that they are not made of metal. What I’m asking is, what you think made the spheres? In other words, what process could shape something like the spheres, and at the same time grind/carve/indent the grooves in the middle of the sphere, and create multiple spheres? There may not be a definitive answer, so if you don’t know that’s fine. I’m just asking because you’ve taken the time to call out and debunk the other theories, and seem to have a lot of knowledge on the subject. I was hoping you take your explanation a step further. I’m curious about the spheres because they are an enigma of nature, kind of like the desert roses in Oklahoma.

      2. I guess I’m confused about what you mean by ‘spheres’. I feel like we might be talking about two different things and not realize it. It seems to me like you are treating the spherical objects as different from the less spherical objects when they are exactly the same. This is my perception of the problem.

        That said, let me try to explain the formation process differently. These objects are formed via a mineralization process followed by erosion, exposing the harder materials that formed inside the softer materials. The nature of the softer materials, aka matrix, is what causes the interesting rounded shapes, and the groves. Like injecting clay into a plaster mold and then baking it. The plaster will crumble away leaving the now hard clay behind, only this is a process of nature where water carrying minerals filter through the matrix, deposits the minerals which harden over time.

        The fact that a few of these objects happen to be more round than others is just chance. These objects are not carved or ground, unless that was done after they were removed to accent the natural features. Which I don’t remember as being the case for any of them, but it wouldn’t surprise me at this point. Also the bands are not perfectly spaced or always continuous. Some are, but again, this is chance given the nature of the matrix in which the object formed.

        I’m hoping this explains the process better.

  9. No we are talking about the same objects. I called them spheres because it was used several times in the article. We can call them geofacts or roundish objects, or whatever. I understand the science and geology process, all I was asking was could you provide more of an explanation than the sand mold for candles. When I was a kid we used to take wet clay and put it onto crawdads we caught in the creek. Once the clay was hardened, we would remove crawdad and fill in the impression with wax. If all goes well you have a really cool wax object. It was nothing more than something for young kids to kill time. What I was asking, what would make the objects, in the above pictures, appear in a rounded shape, and could make impressions on the sides which seem to all the way around? You don’t have to answer this reply. I thought it was a simple question, but apparently not. I’m not a conspiracy person, or someone trying to debunk the debunkers. I thought it was a little curious that these objects were made, and the age of the objects, and that they seem to be only in Africa. Sorry for the confusion.

    1. Well, at this point I’ve explained the formation process three times. I’m not sure what else I can say. Are you looking for particular wording that I’m not providing?

      1. No, you worded it just fine, it was reason it turns into the shape that they are that I was looking for. I was looking for or hoping you would explain why concretions form into round shapes and not flat, or egg shape, or even a shape resembling a stick. You have three pictures on this page, and all of them are not square, nor rectangular, or even n the shape of a triangle. They are in a round like shape. I have no other way to describe them. Sorry. I said they were sphere’s because you, the author, used that word several times. You also used geofacts, so I guess I could used that as well. Don’t bother, I will find my answer somewhere else.

      2. what made the grooves in the mold? give an example in nature wherein rounded cavities with parallel internal striations occur… it is a good analogy until you consider the fact that you cite man made casting processes and don’t explain how the “softer” mold was created

      3. I realize that this is an old-ish post, but you didn’t explain to him what he was asking. It seemed like a few simple questions: Why are they roundish and smooth, and why do they have rings? A succinct answer would have taken your standpoint a long way.

  10. i think the problem here is that there are 2 definable types of people about, one believes in faeries living in our foliage, wizards and witches casting all manner of mayhem & aliens casting *ahem* spherical stone lumps for us to gaze at. and the other more rational populace who see them as nothing more than interesting looking lumps of rock… which is what they quite obviously are, I mean come on people they are not even spherical!

    1. Look, I don’t know if you are referring to me or not, but if you are then you can stick it. I do not believe in faeries, or aliens, or anything that is paranormal. I thought this site was about providing a theory to weird things found around the world. All I was trying to do was ask an honest question about how something like the objects in the pictures above got their shape, but was not getting an answer. As for the spherical comment, I used the word sphere because the author used in the article. And I don’t remember asking you stick you nose into the conversation. Obviously you are someone who has no answers of intelligence, but will sit back and criticize other people’s opinions.

      1. @Ted

        Do an image search for “spherical sedimentary rocks” (no quotes). I think you’ll find your answer there. I can’t state facts (I’m no geologist), but to my untrained eye, they look like they could have been formed, via hydraulics, either in stream bed potholes, or merely precipitation. The groves are probably softer layers, which eroded more over an extended period of time.

        When I was a child these things always intrigued me because I believed the false claim that they were metallic. Being composed of sedimentary rock is an entirely different matter and to me, much more easily explainable.

      2. This response is primarily for Ted, but also ( somewhat ) for ArchyFantasies as ( perhaps ) some additional perspective with regard to the “sand candle” analogy used to explain the formation of the grooves observed in these objects ( assuming that they are, in fact, concretions formed in existing beds of sandstone ).
        So, with the requisite disclaimers out of the way . . . There is a concept in Sedimentary Geology known as The Principle of Original Horizontality. This is not a new concept as it was formulated by a Danish Geologist named Nicholas Steno in the 1600′s; nothing controversial here. The gist of the Principle is that all sedimentary layers are deposited horizontally due to gravity. It is later, due to tectonic forces ( about which Steno knew nothing, by the way ), that strata are bent, tilted, folded and have all other manner of deformation acted upon them. The next important concept that falls into play with regard to the formation of these objects is that layers of sediment tend to vary in their composition and, consequently, their relative hardness which, of course, ultimately effects their resistance to erosion relative to the strata above or below them ( the incredible formations in the deserts of Utah are an example of this on a large scale. It is also known as “Topographic Inversion”, but I digress , , , )
        Let’s start with a cross-sectional view of a section of strata of sandstone, the depositional environment which is presumed to be alluvial. Over ( geologically speaking ) short periods of time, the composition of a given section of the sandstone will be fairly consistent; then, there will be episodes were the composition of the depositing layer changes due to corresponding changes in the depositional environment. For example, there may have been a greater amount of quartz versus feldspar in the erosional material forming the sand layer for a period of time due to any number of factors. Suffice it to say, over a period of, maybe, 10 to 100 thousand years, the section of sandstone strata formed in a tectonically stable region; as such it remained horizontal.
        I promise, I AM going to get to the explanation of the grooves! In the meantime, let’s zoom in to a cross-sectional view of the strata that is, say, 10 centimeters from top to bottom. So starting at the top, we have a fairly bland, consistent layer of sandstone that is the mostly uniform in composition down to about 4 centimeters from the top of our sample section. Below this, we have a thin ( 1 to 2 millimeters ) layer of harder, more crystalline sandstone, followed by a 1/2 centimeter of the bland sand, followed by another 1-2 millimeter hard zone, one more 1/2 centimeter bland sand layer, one last thin hard sand, then bland sand for the rest of the section. So now with this sequence in mind, draw a circle about 5 or so centimeters in diameter through the middle of this cross-section.The three thin, hard layers will trisect the circle at what would be the equatorial region were it a sphere ( which it actually is, more or less, but we haven’t added that dimension, yet! ). Now, rotate this view about the y-axis and make that sphere to which I parenthetically referred.
        As ArchyFantasies makes no mention as to how this spherical cavity actually formed in nature, I will, for now, fiat it into existence for the purposes of the explaining the grooves. The cavity has formed, the material from which the objects formed is injected into the cavity ( again, I make no explanation as to “how” this occurred, but it obviously did. Ever heard of “geodes”? ). The process by which the material is injected into the cavity involves higher pressure on the inside of the cavity as it is filled versus the outside so the “softer” bland sand is nudged out a bit more than the thin, hard layers. The object hardens, time goes on ( and on and on ). The sandstone erodes, eventually, leaving behind a sphere with three parallel ( due to Steno’s Principle of Original Horizontality ) grooves circumscribing it.
        Not saying that’s what actually happened, but I think it is a reasonable explanation.

  11. “I think the third issue here is most people don’t know what a well researched, well written article looks like these days. I will blame the internet for this and a very lazy media. So I make this plea to the internet population, please don’t assume that an article is full of facts just because it’s on the I-net! Be critical, look for sources, look for citation, ask yourself if the article backs up its claims with equivalent evidence.”
    Look at yourself in the mirror and analyse the big amount arrogance you displayed from top to bottom, and then you may judge how a scientific research should look like, and it is nowhere near as yours.

  12. Carlo, darling, the author makes no claims of having done scientific research. He’s simply done his book research. Facts are facts whether the author concluded them on his own or whether they were concluded by an expert in the field in question.

    1. Calling a fact a fact just because someone wrote it is where everything falls flat. Book research has no value other then being interesting if one does not evaluate the accuracy of the facts. While I appreciate the authors effort to explain the phenomena, his explanations fall short, and some valid questions in the comment thread go ignored. Science is the 21st centuries religion and has fallen into the same trap religion fell into.

      The article criticizes “far fetched ideas” it is easy to criticize or ridicule, neither of those actions require special studies or special intelligence. And while there exist the right to criticize or ridicule neither of these actions prove a scientific point or fact.

      The explanations set forth as counter arguments in this article, are lacking in substance and are not backed by verified mechanisms. They may very well be how it occurred, but nothing written in the article proves it. As we are talking theory and expert opinion.

      But the experts simply say that they don’t know how they are formed, and simply give a theory how they “could have formed”, while that is interesting it proves nothing.

      The hallmark of a great scientist is humility, in fact real scientist are elated when they are proven wrong, as this is what leads to new discovery and the advancement of technology.

  13. wow, it really is tiresome and kinda sad the way some people want to hang on to their erroneous beliefs despite being presented with facts. some people obviously need a little mystery and fantasy and would rather throw up spurious arguments in order to maintain them. sedimentary rocks people not extraterrestrial or mystical unless they were very busy all over the world several hundred million years ago….concretions are not new to geology or even that rare and the process of accretion is not magic. i personally have accumulated about 30 concretions- sandstone, mudstone/slate, limestone, pyrite. ranging in size from 10cm diameter up to 500cm. they have been collected in canada , asia, USA, australia,i have about 10 that look identical to photo number three in the article above. none are ‘perfectly balanced’ as is claimed by the myth builders. Thanks for the article.

  14. No one who wants to seem credible would use Wiki as a reference for a science article. It seems hypocrisy is rampant….

  15. I always hoped these were artificial when I was young. Too bad. Thanks for the article, there are plenty of real mysteries in the universe. Best not to waste time on the fake ones. Here’s a shot of large ironstone concretions I took pictures of at Red Rock Coulee Canada, a similar process formed these I imagine.

  16. Excellent article! Sadly, I completely agree that it’s getting harder and harder to find well researched articles with citations, presumably because the purely speculative theories about artifacts, like these spheres, rely on the emotionally polarizing phenomenon of faith.

    In searching for scientific explanations of these spheres, I can’t tell you how frustrating it was to try and wade through the overwhelming number of websites showing only that one picture of the most perfect looking specimen. Why not show the wobbly, ugly ones, if the evidence of their other worldly origins is so overwhelming? But that’s just cynical me talking. I had many more issues with most of those sites, but I digress…

    Your explanation of how these shapes formed is also excellent, and I’m grateful. Forgive me if my interpretation is incorrect, but I had no trouble visualizing how sediment warping or bending could create a kind of mould so to speak (which may or may not include linear striations (grooves) etc. that become part of the mould), and that this mould/depression/basin could be made up of material just hard enough to hold and shape the continually flowing layers upon layers of harder materials over millions of years. Then, eventually, over an even longer period of time, erosion would destroy the outer layers (the mould) leaving only those harder layers (the sphere) exposed.

    For me this mystery is solved. Thank you! On to the next adventure… 🙂

  17. It’s hard to come by educated people about this subject, but you
    seem like you know what you’re talking about! Thanks

  18. This article is foolish…wriiten by fools…or to purposely mislead anyone who is beginning to awaken!

  19. I have one of those spheres. Found it while digging in the sand at the beach many years ago. Didn’t have any idea what it was. Tried to open it as the grooves looked like it might open but the object is very hard. Kept it as an odd little find at the beach. At least now I can put a name to it.

  20. Greate pieces. Keep posting such kind of info on your site.
    Im really impressed by it.
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  21. I would just like to say from a point of view as a candle maker, that it isn’t that simple….especially with a wet sand mold….designs in the candle do not naturally repeat themselves over and over by simply pouring hot wax into the sand….the designs (especially straight lines or symmetrical shapes) would have to be planned and created to be that consistently produced.

    1. The example of a wet candle mold is used as illumination. These concretions don’t form in one spot and then unmold, only to have a new one mold in the same place as the first. These form inside a softer matrix that itself is a mineral with a particular structure that causes the concretions to form the lines as they harden. Also, as I’ve said before, these are not all symmetrical.

  22. Here’s an example of flawed logic.
    For the people who believe that the ancient Egyptians were SO advanced, etc, etc, why is it that
    : “By the time of his death, aged about 90 years, Ramesses was suffering from severe dental problems and was plagued by arthritis and hardening of the arteries.” Wikipedia
    So, WHY is this important? Because they made their bread by grinding wheat in SANDSTONE trays.. Sandstone.. Imagine putting loose sand in your flour before baking it. Then, eat it for years and years. Chewing it. Sand baked into your bread. It would be like sandpaper on your teeth. Imagine!
    The mummy’s all have sanded down teeth. Infections were rampant! They didn’t have aspirin, even. And why, oh why, didn’t they use the granite slabs to make the Pharaoh’s flour? They apparently could make the whole king’s chamber out of it! Because THEY WEREN’T THAT ADVANCED! The hieroglyphics on the walls (in many instances, like the stories of flying machines in India) were flights of fancy. Using their imagination. Like our modern day science fiction writers. If future people found our abandoned culture from today, because of a die off or whatever, these easy believers would think that Star Wars and Star Trek ACTUALLY happened!
    Hopefully, this little mental exercise will help somebody stop wasting time on “Magical Thinking”. Believe me, I get it. I was once there, myself. It’s a good time waster. BUT, there are a LOT of wonderful things in nature.. Examine Fractals and the Fibonacci sequence in ALL living organisms, if you want an amazing mystery. Who has written the Code of our existence? The shapes of amino acids that fit together. Who programmed all the rules than make our Universal BIOS so perfect?

  23. For those who believe that natural accretions are never symmetrical look at GALL STONES and PEARLS. We live in an evidence based era. We also live in an era where insufficient evidence leads to “speculative evidence”. I am left with two choices I choose to wait for evidence, this is very hard, or I choose to make up a story, this is very exciting. Based on the present evidence these are either gall stones from a giant unknown creature that walked the earth 3 billion years ago or a pearl from some giant clam that lived 3 billion years ago. You may now speculate about those long lose creatures. Ain’t life exciting?

  24. Old article but..
    The only way the grooves make sense to me is if the concretion was created in shallow water.
    All the examples looked like the “water groove” was parallel to the bottom surface adding to this possibility.
    I love theories but Occam’s Razor anyone?

  25. Do you know how the mould shapes were initially made? For example, organic material such as molluscs, Nuts etc?

  26. I’m 99.9% certain we are all here and we all exist even though science and logic tell me that can’t be true because you can’t have something from nothing.
    No matter what ever way you think or feel about how we got here scientifically it’s impossible,, yet here we are, well I’m 99.9 % certain we are anyway 🙂
    Anyone who doesn’t believe in miracles and mystery’s beyond our comprehension just needs to find a mirror and start taking another look at things.
    Some use the words fantasy’s and fairytales to put down other people’s feelings views and beliefs yet refuse to accept our own existence as proof of the impossible being a 99.9% absolute certainty,

  27. I’m not convinced that it was foamed like in your explanation. I found one of these in my back yard years ago in southern California and it looks like it was possibly molten rock that was spit outward spinning and the rings were created from the inertia of the spin. It seems like a heavy rock and it has a greenish color then I ran into a article on what they are:

    Like most Southern Utah hikers, I had seen Moqui marbles before but I never thought much of them. Then I learned about their geological significance.

    Last spring my friend Jani, a planetary scientist, asked me where to find Moqui marbles in Snow Canyon State Park. She was going to be filming a segment on Mars for a science-oriented television show and they planned to use Snow Canyon and its Moqui marbles as a stand-in for the planet.

    So I did some research and discovered that Moqui marbles are apparently quite similar to Martian blueberries, round rocks whose formation seems to indicate the presence of water. In fact, the Martian blueberries were among the evidence that convinced scientists of the existence of water on Mars.

    Our local Moqui marbles are balls of sandstone covered in a hard shell of iron oxide minerals. And they are all over the Petrified Dunes in Snow Canyon State Park. I’ve probably seen them there before without realizing their significance.

  28. These “spheres” highly resemble tokens found within a Sumerian “Bulla”. Suggests a possible use for communication.

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