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Devil's Marbles

Listed under Natural Landmark in Alice Springs, Australia.

  • Photo of Devil's Marbles
  • Photo of Devil's Marbles
  • Photo of Devil's Marbles
Photo of Devil's Marbles
Photo by flickr user seattle_maddog
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These 'marbles; are gigantic granite boulders, arranged, and some very precariously balanced, in a remote, shallow valley, against a backdrop of empty desert and spinifex spikes. Some are over four metres high and up to 7 metres in diameter, and some sit, like giant rounded red pebble stecks, on top of one another. Their strange arrangement, and the way that some of them look like they've been rolled into position, is totally natural and has to do with the fact that the boulders are granite and the rest of the rock in these parts is sandstone. The granite comes from below the sandstone and is forced upwards onto the surface and then broken up into great cubes which, like sugar, is rounded off over time and weather. Sorry if that science lesson spoiled the mystery.

The traditional owners of this land have several stories explaining the meaning of these stones, but though a lot of information about them is shared on the plaques beside the walking trails around them, their Dreamtime significance isn't really known – though this is definitely a sacred site and is now owned and part run by the indigenous community or tribes who used to live on this land. That doesn't stop people from visiting them in this remote spot near Tennant Creek.

Written by  Kat Mackintosh.

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