Vnw.

Potxt

ltfr,
Cou,,ilidi
U,USft,
a iRoeink?
I I feighing in at about200 pounds,this nearly
perfectsphereis about 1Binchesin diameterand
lA/
wears
a belt of 28 regularrectangularmarks.
V V
One man who hasseenthe rock describesthe materialas
"flint," while an expertwho viewedthesephotostermsit
"silica,"usuallycalled"quartz."

SARRY
HANSON

A mysterious
roundrock foundnearthe mouthof the Brule
Riverin Wisconsinsitson a flat sur{ace(top) andbearsa
"belt" of 28 rectangles
(left).

24

The question at hand is this:
Just what is this thing?
This ancient and strange rock was found near the
mouth of the Brule River in'Wisconsin. This "perfect"
spherehas one flat surfaceand, when set on a post, the belt
tilts at about a 23 degreeangle ... the angle, notes an
observer, of the planett own tilt. The rectangles narrowly
range from l-by-l inches to l-6y-2 inches and the
number 28 correspondsto the lunar calendar.
\Who - or what - formed this geological anomaly
not far from the shoresof Lake Superior?'Wewill rap our
experts for some answers,but we want to tap you, the

-JULv
90 LakeSuperiorMagazine/ JUNE
2000

4^

readers,too. Since we dont know what it is, there is no
right or wrong answer - yet. So send any ideas you
might have or photos of your own geologic discoveries
around the lake before August 1, 2000. Pleasee-mail
(therock@lakesuperior.com)or mail (PO. Box 16417,
Duluth, MN 55816-0417) your suggestions.From the
batch of suggestions,we will draw one to receive a gift.
Then stay tuned for the October/November issue
when we will let you know what you, and the experts,
are guessing.

r{

Vrrw.Pomr

til]ft,
g'fr,
$,ur
a-,
illrl[1,
ilIll/hat
\TI/^.

would createan almostperfectlyrounded

flint-like rock with a,6elt of 28 regular
\UU/
\\UlEl, rectangles(the length of a lunar month) and
one flat side that tilts the whole thing at a23-degree
angle {about the same +s the ea+th'stilt)?
\X4ry, nature might create it, according to the experts.
LSM askedreaders and a few experts to look at this
rounded rock found near the mouth of the Brule River
in \Tisconsin (LSM JunelJuly). The experts' answerswere
surprising becausewhat they call a natural phenomenon
seemsdownright unnatural. But geologist and
archeologist alike say the rock doesn't look artificially
altered.This example of Hudson Bay or Thunder Bay
areaflint may have hitched a ride with a south-bound
glacier and got dumped in \Tisconsin. The rectangular
wear marks, while unusual, are not unheard of. As for
the shapesbeing human-made, \Walt Okstad, historian
with the Superior National Forest in Duluth, Minnesota,
saysthat as early as thousands of years ago, humans had
the capability of carving consistent shapesinto stone. So

Rectangles
circlethisunusual
roundflintrock,whichhasoneflattened
side.Readers
offered
theirtuesses
asto itsorigin.
the relatively "random" sizing of the rectangles - some 1
inch-by-1 inch, others more l-by-2 - probably indicates
nature'swork. Plus, if the rock is about 200 pounds, as
one observerestimates,itt unlikely that it was moved
around by people or there should have been more
artifacts nearby if the rock marked a standard gathering
site. "But I could be wrong," cautions \7alt, who keeps
this adageon his wall: The tragedy of scienceis that a
beautiful hypothesis can be destroyed by an ugly fact.
If the scientific explanationsof this round rock leave
you flat, LSM readersoffer other explanations:
"This is an old anchor for a gill net. Sandstonewas
also used in the late 1800s.The belted groovescame
from an anchor chain and would have been deeper while
in use" suggestedone reader.
Another was sure that this must be a navigational
device used by "Norske Men," known for unbelievable
voyagesnavigating with crude, but ingenious instruments.
Among our other favorites- a sort of paleo-globe
createdby ancient Isle Royale copper miners who
guessedthat the earth indeed was round. (They must
have only gotten as far as carving the equator!)
\(/hatever the true explanation, one fact remains
clear: Lake Superior never tires of giving us new magic
and mystery to explore.
F.*

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