The Mysterious Waffle Rock: A Bizarre Boulder with a Hazy Background
Waffle Rock is a peculiar rock located in West Virginia, USA. The jury is still out on the origins of the unusual pattern marking the boulder. Huge lizards, erosion, Native American artwork, and aliens have all been proposed.
The strange rock is situated in Jennings Randolph Lake, Mineral County, West Virginia. While the current rock is a boulder, it was once part of a larger piece of rock (which in turn might have originated in a parent outcrop). It was moved to its current location as a result of the construction of a dam in the area.
Waffle Rock has been named after the iconic pattern found on one of its sides. It is a regular, geometric pattern that runs in almost straight lines across the rock, thus giving the surface a waffle-like appearance. That pattern is composed of a darker-colored rock, which makes it stand out compared to the lighter background.
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What is the Waffle Rock?
It is unclear when local residents became aware of Waffle Rock, though its existence was already known by the 1930s. At that time, there was a small town called Shaw. The town, or rather what remains of it, is today submerged under the waters of Jennings Randolph Lake.
It was also during the 1930s that the American Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) arrived at the town, and told its residents to pack up and leave. The government had decided to build a dam on the Potomac River, which flowed through the town. The damming of the river would cause the town to be submerged.
An older photo of Waffle Rock. ( Rense.com)
Whilst the residents were, undoubtedly, unhappy with being forced to move, some of them were also concerned about Waffle Rock, which some of them referred to as ‘Indian Rock’. Part of the rock was moved by the USACE to save it from the dam project, possibly thanks to the pressure put on them by the residents of Shaw. Today Waffle Rock stands just outside the visitor’s center at the West Virginia Overlook, a recreational facility at Jennings Randolph Lake. Another, smaller piece of the rock is displayed in the Smithsonian Institute of Natural History in Washington D.C.
Waffle Rock, West Virginia, USA. (UFO Spain Magazine/ CC BY 4.0 )
Who or What Made the Markings on the Rock?
Due to the rock’s peculiarity, various speculations have been made regarding its formation. Earlier, it was mentioned that Waffle Rock was known also as ‘Indian Rock’. Some believe that the patterns on the rock were carved by Native Americans who once lived in that area, either as a form of art or primitive writing. Another interesting theory is that Waffle Rock is actually the impression of the skin of a prehistoric giant lizard that once roamed the area. Others have suggested that Waffle Rock was the work of aliens that visited earth sometime in the past.
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The most conventional theory, however, is that Waffle Rock was formed as a result of geological processes. According to geologists, the story of Waffle Rock began about 250 and 300 million years ago. During that period (known as the Appalachian Orogeny), the Appalachian Mountains were being formed, and the sandstone which was part of the rock was compressed, resulting in joints or fractures in it.
The unusual pattern marking one side of Waffle Rock. (UFO Spain Magazine/ CC BY 4.0 )
Over the next 100 million years or so, these fractures began to be filled with iron oxide leached from the surrounding rock by percolating water. As a result of this, a strong cement was formed. As this resisted the elements better than the sandstone that surrounded it, the waffle-like pattern was left when the surrounding sandstone had been removed as a result of erosion and weathering over a long period of time.
Top image: The Waffle Rock. Source: universo7p/ CC BY 4.0
By Wu Mingren
Clemens, M. J., 2016. The Waffle Rock: What the Heck Is It?. Available at: https://www.dailygrail.com/2016/01/the-waffle-rock-what-the-heck-is-it/
Dennis, N., 2009. The Waffle Rock: A big attraction to the thousands of visitors at Jennings Randolph Lake each year. Available at: http://www.nab.usace.army.mil/Portals/63/docs/Recreation/JRL/Maps/WaffleRock.pdf
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