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A.P. Chekhov, 1890

Hanging Rock 'defies gravity', above a 1,000 metre abyss

By Olga Gertcyk and Vera Salnitskaya
02 January 2016

Experts say a crack has appeared in the precarious granite giant: but if it falls into the lake, it will unleash ancient legends which might change the world.

The impressive stone has a contact area of only one square metre with the rock-face on which it has rested. Picture: Irina Yakunina

One of the wonders of Siberia, there are fears that 2016 could be the year that Hanging Rock finally falls from its perch into the icy lake below. The giant rock has sat uncomfortably on the edge of a precipice probably since glacial times tens of thousands of years ago, but has so far failed to submit to gravity or the efforts of groups of tourists to dislodge it.

In the Western Sayan Mountains, the giant lump in recent decades has stopped rocking, as it did until recent decades. The impressive stone has a contact area of only one square metre with the rock-face on which it has rested since being deposited here by an Ice Age glacier which later receded.

Hanging Rock


Hanging Rock


Hanging Rock

If it falls one kilometre, it could have dire consequences according to legends handed down by native groups since ancient times in this part of southern Siberia. Pictures: Irina Yakunina

Yet local experts say a new crack has appeared which could lead to it falling into the dark waters of Lake Raduzhnoye - the 'pearl' of the Yergaki (or Ergaki) National Park also known as the 'Russian Yosemite' in vast Krasnoyarsk region - literally 'at any time'.

Evidently, the fissure started to show in 2012, and it could lead to the demise of a natural phenomenon which has intrigued man for thousands of years. If it falls one kilometre, it could have dire consequences according to legends handed down by native groups since ancient times in this part of southern Siberia.

Hanging Rock

A new crack has appeared which could lead to it falling into the dark waters of Lake Raduzhnoye - the 'pearl' of the Yergaki. Picture:The Siberian Times

Peace and order is maintained here by age-old warrior Sleeping Sayan, the Master of the Taiga, it is believed. The falling of the rock will signal that this slumbering giant has awoken from an eternal sleep to defend her motherland (Sleeping Sayan is seen as female). The splash from the rock crashing into the lake below will wash this mystical female warrior's face, and launch a new epoch, with the beginning of new life. 

Yet this is not the only legend about Hanging Rock. Another stems from the eerie way the rock vibrates from the wind whistling through the pristine mountain air in its exposed location. Hanging Rock, according to this version, is the beating heart of sleeping Sayan which the gods had removed from her chest. 

Hanging Rock


Hanging Rock

It is true that many have tried to push Hanging Rock into a watery grave, including one group of 30 tourists who believed they could sway nature. Pictures: Alexey Sokolov, Irina Yakunina

If a man comes along with super-human powers who can lift and dislodge this incongruous stone, then he will replace sleeping warrior Sayan as the keeper of this majestic and unspoiled region. The mystical warrior, in turn, will be finally freed from seemingly endless duties. 

It is true that many have tried to push Hanging Rock into a watery grave, including one group of 30 tourists who believed they could sway nature. They all pushed at once, but the coarse-grained granite - hewn from 500 million year old rock - didn't budge. Others boasting Samson-like muscles have also failed - so far - to send Hanging Rock on its way to create a mighty tsunami in the tiny 100 metre diameter lake below.

Comments (9)

I will go up there with hydraulic jack. Thank you for story.
Ivan the Baddy, Novosibirsk, Russia
21/01/2016 22:37
1
2
yes , there will be more idiots trying to dislodge the hanging rock , just to say" look what we did "& with a smile to boot no doubt.... it's all about the dumbing down the next generation after generation , so there is no respect for others or nature
koskela, dublin nh usa
06/01/2016 01:08
10
0
It needs a fence around it, to keep the Idiots away.

Whoever is the cause of this Natural Wonder being destroyed, should be in PRISON.

Just LOOK, don't TOUCH.
Darwin, USA
05/01/2016 19:19
9
1
If people keep messing with it, someone, or a group of people may get smashed as flat as a pancake!
Mike, USA
05/01/2016 08:30
2
0
Who has a crowbar when you really need one.
Dan, Atlanta
04/01/2016 05:38
1
6
super glue
new jersey, parlin
04/01/2016 04:31
5
0
Such natural curiosities should be given protections that would allow them to intrigue and continue to delight future generations until the rock naturally takes a swan dive into the lake below. People who attempt to vandalize such places by artificially disrupting the landscape should face stiff penalties from the local authorities, or the wrath of Sayan, herself, as I hear that she isn't a morning person, and can be rather grouchy after having been awakened (at least until her second cup of coffee).
Michael, Detroit, MI - USA
03/01/2016 19:11
12
0
Mother Nature knows best. The rock will fall when its time has come. But it seems to me that it has actually become more stable since it has stopped rocking. That's why those 30 tourists failed to send it tumbling down. May the sleeping warrior Sayan keep this unspoiled region undisturbed for another million years!
E. Espinosa, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
03/01/2016 16:29
11
0
Run away! Run away! All is lost.
Leroy, Reykyavik Iceland
03/01/2016 06:04
4
2
1

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