In this world there are many different awesome things. One of those that we take for granted are rocks. Because rocks are fucking everywhere. Some of us even have tons of tiny ones making up our driveways, yet we drive over them every day without a second thought.
Sure there are the Rosetta Stones and the Plymouth Rocks out there, but I’m betting you’ve probably never heard of the following six. I’m not betting a lot, because I’m bad at gambling.
6. ALH 84001
ALH 84001 roughly translates to “Allan Hills, Antarctica, 84001” which just so happens to be the place where the rock was discovered. It’s a small one, measuring in at basically the size of a potato, but what it offers us is something extraordinary.
The rock proves there’s life on Mars.
Obviously. It comes from Mars, which we can find out by reading the return address on the envelope it was sent in. And naturally if it was sent to us from Mars, somebody had to send it, right? Rocks don’t just fly off of planets and land on other planets.
Actually, it happens all the time, and this one is no different.
Discovered in 1984 by some people who realized the rock was out of place amongst a sea of snow and ice, but they figured that it was just a regular earth rock because, as it turns out, we have a shit ton of rocks on this planet.
But in 1996 NASA decided they were going to test the rock, whether they had motives or just a hard case of boredom remains a mystery. What they found was it was made up from Mars stuff and a bunch of “structures originating from fossilized, primitive bacteria-like organisms.” In other words, extra-terrestrial life. So yes, this rock apparently proves that there is life outside of our own planet.
The rock is still under scrutiny by people who don’t believe Mars exists.
5. Hooker Emerald Brooch
Although I giggle and laugh at the name of this as if I’m still in the fifth grade, the Brooch is a serious rock.
Discovered sometime in the 16th or 17th century, it was given to Sultan Abdul Hamid II, because who else would it have been given to back then? He sported it as a big gaudy belt buckle like a Texan at a hoedown.
Eventually in 1908 it was smuggled into Paris as part of the crown jewels, along with the Hope Diamond. All badass jewels stick together like that. The Sultan was scared the Young Turks were going to kick his ass, so he was hoping to sell the emerald on Ebay and make off like a bandit.
In 1911 it was auctioned off and the new proud owner was Tiffany & Co., who transformed it from a redneck symbol of pride to a tiara the likes of which had every five year old girl in the country clamoring for it.
Fast forward a few dozen decades and the tiara wasn’t selling. Tiffany & Co. realized they should have left it a belt buckle but decided to try something else, so they once again transformed the piece, this time into a brooch, and put it in their Christmas catalog. It still didn’t sell.
Finally in 1955 a philanthropic heiress bought the brooch for an undisclosed price, and as it turns out she was a Hooker. Apparently one who was very successful at her job.
Having no reason to hold onto it, Janet Annenberg Hooker decided to donate it to the Smithsonian in 1977, as well as a few more of her prized pieces and five million dollars. Back then the brooch was valued at $500,000. Today it is estimated to be worth several kajillion.
4. Devil’s Organ Pipes
If you’re ever wondering where the Devil is, you can find him in Northern Ireland. That is, if you don’t go to Hell first.
There in the land of alcohol is a natural wonder that looks like a giant baby dumped his building blocks and just never picked them up. What it actually happens to be, is a volcanic masterpiece, causing over 4000 basaltic columns of rocks to jut out of the land in the shape of an organ.
No, not that organ. Like the one you would see in a big fancy church, only without God because this is the Devil’s organ. Heh.
Legend has it (because everything involving anything has to have a legend) the rocks were built by the Giant Fionn MacCumhail so that he could fight against the Scottish giant called Benandonner. That seems legit.
Benandonner lost the fight because, instead of building his own giant rock organ, he opted for a Starbucks franchise.
3. Pantuo Rock
On the outside, Pantuo Rock is just a rock standing precariously on another rock.
Holy shit, that’ll do. How is it just sitting there, looking all “I’m about to drop on your ass”? Well, it has for millions of years and it doesn’t plan on moving any time soon.
There are tons of rocks all over the world that do this very thing, and it’s amazing to wonder just how in the hell they do it. But they do, and I’m guessing it’s because of a little thing called “balance”.
The three symbols on the side of the rock are “Pan Tuo Shi”, which loosely translates to “large boulder sitting on the edge of killing you”, or at least that’s what I think it means. It was autographed by Hou Jigao, the famous anti-Japanese-pirates general in the Ming Dynasty. Yeah, that guy. Which makes me reconsider what the three symbols on the side of the rock actually mean.
2. Stone Mountain
Have you heard about that one big rock with the four Presidents heads carved into the side of it? This isn’t it. But it was done by the same guy who did Mount Rushmore.
Well, he started it anyway. Gutzon Borglon began working on this piece in 1916 but stopped in 1925, and nobody knows why. Two years later he began working on Mount Rushmore, so maybe he was just paid a higher amount of cash to do that than the previous work. Who knows.
The job was picked back up in 1963 by some other dude and was eventually finished in 1972. The work depicts the likenesses of Stonewall Jackson, Robert E. Lee and Jefferson Davis, as well as their horses. It’s also done in the style of bas-relief and happens to be the largest of its kind in the world. A bas-relief sculpture is one that has less depth to the faces and figures than they actually have, when measured proportionately to scale. This technique retains the natural contours of the figures, and allows the work to be viewed from many different angles without distortion of the figures themselves. Neato, huh?
Just to key you in on their size, the entire carving is 400 feet off the ground, so you have to really crane your neck just to get a good look at it. It’s 90 feet wide by 190 feet tall, never mind how many pixels that would be. To put that into perspective, the heads of the Presidents on Mount Rushmore are about 60 feet tall apiece.
1. Chained Rock
Before 1932, the people of Pineville, Kentucky had very little to do with their time other than come up with horrific things to tell their children with the hopes that the kids would fall asleep happy and leave the parents with plenty of time for moon-shining. *citation needed
Instead of the typical Grimm Fairy Tales, which only terrify kids until they fall asleep, the parents would often torture their kids for the entire night by telling them of a giant rock that sat one thousand feet above the town, and how it would ultimately come crashing down and destroy the entire place. The difference between the rock and the Grimm Fairy Tales was, the rock was actually there and could be seen from the town. The parents would guarantee the child’s safety by telling them that there was a huge chain bolted into the rock to keep it from tumbling down on top of them, ruining their chances at making their own moonshine once they turned 12.
The only problem was, there was no chain. It didn’t matter that the rock only appeared to be ready to fall and was actually very secure in its position on the hillside, there was no fucking chain. Essentially, the parents were lying to their kids. Believe it or not, parents have been lying to their kids for a long time now, which makes it okay for you to do.
The town decided one day in 1932 that it was time to change that, so they hauled a 1.5 ton, 101 foot chain up the hillside via a four-mule team to legitimately secure the rock to the hillside. This decision was made because the former lied-to children didn’t want to lie to their own children, and they needed some sort of reason for tourists to come to their sleepy little town. Apparently the moonshine wasn’t bringing them in like it had been before the Great Depression.
So now if the rock decides to come loose and fall, it’ll just swing along the hillside like a giant pendulum of destruction, tearing out trees and other rocks which will fall on the town, still destroying it all. That’s a fair trade.
No matter the reason, nobody knows for sure why they actually put the chain on the rock, but one thing is for sure. Pineville is now the most visited town in Kentucky by the people who live there.