The Al Naslaa Rock Formation, a massive, solid rock that appears to have been split in half by an alien’s laser weapon, is a superb example of how nature is a serious force to be reckoned with. Rather than being a story about extraterrestrial antics (as fantastic as that might be), the Al Naslaa Rock Formation is assumed to have been formed entirely on Earth.
The 6-meter (20-feet) high rocks sit upon two natural pedestals that make the rocks appear as if they are almost levitating in perfect balance with one another as they don’t lean into their small divide and touch. It’s hard to imagine the Al Naslaa Rock Formation came about by accident, but most scientific theories to explain its existence center around the natural weathering process being responsible for its perplexing formation.
Petroglyph of the Al Naslaa Rock Formation
The Al Naslaa Rock Formation, located in Saudi Arabia’s Tayma Oasis, is a petroglyph that is undoubtedly one of the most picturesque in the world. Petroglyphs are images carved or engraved into a rock’s surface (as opposed to pictographs, painted onto rocks).
On the surface of the Al Naslaa Rock Formation, there are depictions of Arabian horses, ibexes, and humans. The exact date the sculptures were carved into the stone is unknown, however the sandstone rocks are thought to be thousands of years old.
What caused the formation of the Al Naslaa Rock Formation?
The precise split down the middle of the Al Naslaa Rock Formation has sparked various theories. One theory is that the boulder is situated on a fault line, and the split was caused by the ground beneath it shifting, forcing it to split in half at a weak place.
The crack generated by this action may have turned into a wind tunnel, allowing sand-laden gusts to sweep across the landscape. Thousands of years of grains passing through the gap may have effectively sanded down the uneven crack to create a completely smooth surface.
It’s also possible that the crack is a joint, which is defined as a natural break in a rock that occurs without displacement in geology. The fracture separates the rocks and, as shown in the Al Naslaa Rock Formation, can be unusually straight.
Another possibility is that the crack was produced by freeze-thaw weathering when water entered into a small gap in the then-connected sandstone rocks in ancient times. This water may have then frozen, expanding and exaggerating the fissure.
The divided ice would have thawed and melted when the cool period ended, leaving a perfectly straight space between the sandstone boulders.
The pedestals on which the divided rocks rest are fairly prevalent in desert environments, where they’re also known as mushroom rocks due to their shape. They’re usually the result of weathering, which might be caused by higher-speed winds that wear down the rock faster, or glacial motion, in which a rock moves to balance atop another due to sluggish glacial movement.
Could the Al Naslaa Rock Formation have been constructed by humans?
Because the Al Naslaa Rock Formation is composed of sandstone, it is susceptible to weathering as well as human intervention. Simple metal tools could have sheared the rock down the middle, but what could have possessed a person to undertake such a difficult feat as chopping a boulder in half?
It’s possible that the strange rock sculpture was made as a geographical landmark, a sacred location, or an early example of art by ancient civilizations. The petroglyphs on its surface serve as a reminder that not everything we do as humans is for no other reason than to express ourselves.
What is the location of the Al Naslaa Rock Formation?
If you’d want to try your hand at unraveling the Al Naslaa Rock Formation’s mystery once and for all, you can find it in Saudi Arabia’s Tayma Oasis, not far from the Al Knanafah Wildlife Sanctuary.
Oh, and if you do figure it out, please let us know, okay?