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Dinosaur eggs, meteorites, signs of an ancient civilisation: what are these giant balls?

By Ann Liesowska
26 June 2016

Found 30 metres underground at a coal mine, they're dubbed 'Jurassic pearls' or the marbles of a Siberian colossus.

A leftover from Jurassic Times. Picture: Nazarovo TV

The ten spheres are around half the size of a human, a metre or so in diameter, and almost perfectly round and smooth. To add to the mystery, they change colour after rain.

They were unearthed by an excavator at Sereulsky coal mine, in the Nazarovo district of Krasnoyarsk region, lying close together.

It was as if they had been carefully buried by a prehistoric giant only to be found many millennia later. Or was there some extra-terrestrial explanation to this geological curiosity now on display at the mine?

The experts have ruled out the more fantastical versions - including theories that they were manmade - and say these stone creations are a leftover from Jurassic times. The strange balls were formed by a natural process likened to the formation of pearls. 

Jurassic pearls


Jurassic pearls


Jurassic pearls
The balls were formed by a natural process likened to the formation of pearls. Pictures here and below: Nazarovo TV


The stone balls are known as concretions; they form in sedimentary rocks by the precipitation of a considerable amount of cementing material around a nucleus, often organic, such as a leaf, tooth, piece of shell or fossil.

Expert Olga Yakunina, of the Geology Museum of Central Siberia, said: 'The balls are formed the same way as a pearl, when a grain of sand gets into the shell and the clam tries to get rid of it. Water flowing through sedimentary rock leaves behind minerals that glue together masses of sand, mud or other particles. These concretions are very rare.'

Why do they show a rusty colour after rain? This is due to iron oxide in their composition, say experts.

They appear to be Siberian cousins of the Moqui Marbles, also called Moqui balls, which are iron oxide concretions in outcrops of the Navajo Sandstone in the American state of Utah. 

Jurassic pearls


Jurassic pearls


Jurassic pearls

Comments (7)

Also, check out "THE DEVIL'S MARBLES", Northern Territory, AUSTRALIA.
Keith Sauerwald., Darwin, AUSTRALIA.
01/07/2016 06:33
6
0
Skyline coal company dug some up here in Tennessee...I have a friend who has a large one in his garden.
Keith Swindell, Spencer ,Tennessee United States
30/06/2016 09:32
6
0
Concretions are also found in United States in western part of North Dakota. On map look for north unit of Theodore Roosevelt National Park. Wonderful to see. Thanks for your article!
Deb Larsen, Waconia, Minnesota, United States
30/06/2016 07:22
6
0
I work at a Coal mine in Alberta Canada. We dug through a seam of these. They are anywhere from fist size to the size of the ones in the photos. I have a small one in my garden.
stef dolan, Jasper Alberta Canada
29/06/2016 09:39
11
0
They are the new balls for the "Wimbledon Final"1
Jaker, Dundalk
28/06/2016 08:57
4
0
Check Costa Rica (in central america) where there are some stone balls very similar to these... In some places by hundreds... some large, some small, all sizes, perfectly spheric, nobody knows where they came from...
Gabriel Coronado, Guatemala
28/06/2016 07:21
10
0
Are these balls make of sandstone or limestones ?
Are they in relation with stromatoliths or only with minéral concretion? Thanks for the pictures
Jocelyne, FRANCE
27/06/2016 18:03
13
0
1

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