Not Aliens After All? Likely Origins of Enigmatic Rock Formation in Saudi Arabia Revealed
One geologist reportedly suggested that the split in the rock formation could have been caused by a process that “occurs when water gets into a small crack in the rock.”
While a number of social media users previously speculated that an unusual rock formation known as Al Naslaa located in the Tayma Oasis in Saudi Arabia may have been tampered with by aliens in the past, some geologists begs to differ, The Daily Mail reports.
The sandstone formation in question looks like it has bene split in half, with the divide between its two parts appearing rather smooth so that it “looks like it's been cut in half by a laser beam,” as the newspaper puts it.
But while some netizens debated whether “it was aliens” or the work of some advanced “ancient technology,” geologist Cherry Lewis, honorary research fellow at the University of Bristol, argued that Mother Nature may be the one to blame in this case.
“It [the split] could have formed due to a process called 'freeze-thaw' weathering, which occurs when water gets into a small crack in the rock. As temperatures drop, the water freezes and expands which causes the crack to widen and lengthen,” she said as quoted by the newspaper. “As the ice melts, water makes its way deeper and deeper into the crack. The process repeats itself over thousands, or even millions, of years until the rock eventually splits. This process, coupled with wind erosion - which, in a desert environment, is like sandblasting – could also explain why the boulder is standing on its own like that.”
Meanwhile, geologist and geophysicist Professor Tim Reston of the University of Birmingham reportedly suggested that the split is “probably a joint, which is a natural fracture in the rock typically caused by pressure release and expansion, formed when the rock layer was more continuous, and now left exposed by erosion of the surroundings."