Moeraki Boulders

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The Moeraki Boulders at sunrise

The Moeraki Boulders are a rock formation in New Zealand. They are unusually large and spherical boulders on Koekohe Beach on the Otago coast, between Moeraki and Hampden. Some of the boulders are in groups, while others stand by themselves. The area has been protected in a scientific reserve.

The boulders sit in mudstone, which is eroded by the action of the waves along the beach. This leaves the boulders exposed on the sand.[1][2][3][4]

Local Māori legends say the boulders as the remains of eel baskets, calabashes, and kumara washed ashore from the wreck of Arai-te-uru, a large sailing canoe. The rocks that extend seaward from Shag Point are the petrified hull of this shipwreck. A nearby rocky promontory is the body of the canoe's captain.

In 1848 a drawing of the beach and its boulders, shows there were more than now. This picture is now in the Alexander Turnbull Library in Wellington.[5] The boulders were described in 1850 colonial reports and numerous popular articles since that time. In more recent times they have become a popular tourist attraction, often described and pictured in numerous web pages and tourist guides.[3][5][6]

References[change | change source]

  1. Boles, J.R., C.A. Landis, and P. Dale, 1985, The Moeraki Boulders; anatomy of some septarian concretions, Journal of Sedimentary Petrology, vol. 55, n. 3, p. 398-406.
  2. Fordyce, E., and P. Maxwell, 2003, Canterbury Basin Paleontology and Stratigraphy, Geological Society of New Zealand Annual Field Conference 2003 Field Trip 8, Miscellaneous Publication 116B, Geological Society of New Zealand, Dunedin, New Zealand. ISBN 0-908678-97-5
  3. 3.0 3.1 Forsyth, P.J., and G. Coates, 1992, The Moeraki boulders. Institute of Geological & Nuclear Sciences, Information Series no. 1, (Lower Hutt, New Zealand)
  4. Thyne, G.D., and J.R. Boles, 1989, Isotopic evidence for origin of the Moeraki septarian concretions, New Zealand, Journal of Sedimentary Petrology. v. 59, n. 2, p. 272-279.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Dann, C. and N. Peat, 1989, Dunedin, North and South Otago. GP Books. Wellington, New Zealand. ISBN 0-477-01438-0.
  6. Mutch, A. R., 1966, Moeraki Boulders in A.H. McLintock, ed., An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand. Government Printer, Wellington, New Zealand.