Saturday, April 17, 2010

Even More Geology FAIL: the Bimini Wall

If you've ever seen any over-the-top documentary about unsolved mysteries, you've probably heard of the Bimini Wall: they're solid rock found dozens of feet underwater that are cut at right angles.

The Bimini Wall is a truly extraordinary feature. They are really impressive. How could they possibly be of natural origin, right? And not made by...say...ATLANTIS?

Personally, I'd prefer the explanation that the Bimini Wall are ancient ruins from lost Atlantis because the actual naturalistic theory of their formation is astonishingly mundane, and a like most stratigraphic and hydrological theories, is actually a little boring. I can't imagine a single scientist in the world that wouldn't be thrilled at the marrow of the idea of discovering Atlantis. But sadly, this isn't it.

The "Bimini Wall" is an example of a geological feature called "tessellated pavement." They're made of a type of cemented together shell-hash, a sedimentary beachrock like the kind found on many shorelines today. What happened was, as the island's shoreline was eroded, the beachrock found itself in the water and broke due to crustal action. The clean breaks and 90 degree angles are due to orthogonal jointing, which is a property of how rocks break due to crustal action (an orthogonal break is, if you remember from geometry, a pair of right angles placed beside each other). As the water starts to flow in between the breaks, the harsh action of the sand and water causes the broken beach rock to assume a loaf shape.

Not only is this possible, but tessellated pavement is actually seen in many places in the world: 90 meters below the water in Dry Tortugas, the so-called "Phoenician Fortress" in Oklahoma, and most spectacularly, the gorgeous Eaglehawk Neck, Tasmania formations.

Anyway, a close analysis of the Bimini Wall shows the total absence of regular and repeated markings that could be interpreted as toolmarks.


  1. Great to find your site - thank you so much!

  2. Are you kidding They have already lifted two stones and found 14 stone wedges underneath to keep them level