Joined: 06 Feb 2006
Location: Northern California
|Posted: Sat Aug 18, 2007 12:11 pm Post subject: Precambrian Grooved Sphere from South Africa
|Grooved Sphere from South Africa (Precambrian)
Over the past several decades, South African miners have found hundreds of metallic spheres, at least one of which has three parallel grooves running around its equator. The spheres are of two types--"one of solid bluish metal with white flecks, and another which is a hollow ball filled with a white spongy center" (Jimison 1982). Roelf Marx, curator of the museum of Klerksdorp, South Africa, where some of the spheres are housed, said: "The spheres are a complete mystery. They look man-made, yet at the time in Earth's history when they came to rest in this rock no intelligent life existed. They're nothing like I have ever seen before" (Jimison 1982).
We wrote to Roelf Marx for further information about the spheres. He replied in a letter dated September 12, 1984: "There is nothing scientific published about the globes, but the facts are: They are found in pyrophyllite, which is mined near the little town of Ottosdal in the Western Transvaal. This pyrophyllite (Al2Si4O10(OH)2) is a quite soft secondary mineral with a count of only 3 on the Mohs' scale and was formed by sedimentation about 2.8 billion years ago. On the other hand the globes, which have a fibrous structure on the inside with a shell around it, are very hard and cannot be scratched, even by steel." The Mohs' scale of hardness is named after Friedrich Mohs, who chose ten minerals as references points for comparative hardness, with talc the softest (1) and diamond the hardest (10).
In his letter to us, Marx said that A. Bisschoff, a professor of geology at the University of Potchefstroom, told him that the spheres were "limonite concretions." Limonite is a kind of iron ore. A concretion is a compact, rounded rock mass formed by localized cementation around a nucleus.
One problem with the hypothesis that the objects are limonite concretions concerns their hardness. As noted above, the metallic spheres cannot be scratched with a steel point, indicating they are extremely hard. But standard references on minerals state that limonite registers only 4 to 5.5 on the Mohs' scale, indicating a relatively low degree of hardness (Kourmisky 1977). Furthermore, limonite concretions usually occur in groups, like masses of soap bubbles stuck together. They do not, it seems, normally appear isolated and perfectly round, as is the case with the objects in question. Neither do they normally appear with parallel grooves encircling them.
For the purposes of this study, it is the sphere with three parallel grooves around its equator that most concerns us. Even if it is conceded that the sphere itself is a limonite concretion, one still must account for the three parallel grooves. In the absence of a satisfactory natural explanation, the evidence is somewhat mysterious, leaving open the possibility that the South African grooved sphere--found in a mineral deposit 2.8 billion years old--was made by an intelligent being.
Jimison, S. (1982) "Scientists baffled by space spheres." Weekly World News, July 27.
Kourmisky, J., ed. (1977) Illustrated Encylopedia of Minerals and Rocks. London, Octopus.
Marx, R. (1984) personal communication, September 12.
Looks like Iapetus