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Scientists Solve Mystery of Ireland's Moving Boulders

Unknown Lamer posted more than 2 years ago | from the sea-aliens-did-it dept.

Earth 127

Hugh Pickens writes "How has a 78-ton boulder traveled 130 meters inland from the sea since 1991? Live Science reports that geologists have puzzled for years over the mysterious boulders that litter the desolate coastline of Ireland's Aran Islands that somehow move on their own when no one is looking. The sizes of the boulders in the formations range 'from merely impressive to mind-bogglingly stupendous,' writes geoscientist Rónadh Cox. While some researchers contend that only a tsunami could push these stones, new research finds that plain old ocean waves, with the help of some strong storms, do the job. Some boulders move inland at an average rate of nearly 3 meters per decade, with one rock moving 3.5 meters vertically and 69 meters horizontally in one year. The team compared modern high-altitude photos of the coastline to a set of meticulous maps from 1839 that identified the location of the boulders' ridges — nearly 100 years after the most recent tsunami to hit the region, which struck in 1755. The Aran cliffs rise nearly vertically out of the Atlantic (video), leaving very deep water close to the shore. As waves slam into the sheer cliff, that water is abruptly deflected back out toward the oncoming waves. This backflow may amplify subsequent waves resulting an occasional storm wave that is much larger than one would expect. 'There's a tendency to attribute the movement of large objects to tsunami,' says Cox. 'We're saying hold the phone. Big boulders are getting moved by storm waves.'"

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first (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39925269)

first

Well holy god (5, Funny)

hmmm (115599) | more than 2 years ago | (#39925307)

Next thing "science" will probably try and explain moving statues.

Re:Well holy god (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39925351)

Anti-theist strawman. Please cite a credible source where a religious institution or representative thereof states as an article of faith that the cause was not natural and, hence, inaccessible to science.

Re:Well holy god (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39925403)

I thought he was making a Doctor Who reference.

Re:Well holy god (1)

ArsenneLupin (766289) | more than 2 years ago | (#39927025)

Or maybe a reference to this [wikipedia.org]

Re:Well holy god (1)

lister king of smeg (2481612) | more than 2 years ago | (#39929205)

"they're coming. The angels are coming for you, but listen, your life could depend on this: don't blink. Don't even blink. Blink and you're dead. They are fast, faster than you could believe. Don't turn your back, don't look away, and don't blink!"

Re:Well holy god (1)

jamesh (87723) | more than 2 years ago | (#39925457)

Anti-theist strawman. Please cite a credible source where a religious institution or representative thereof states as an article of faith that the cause was not natural and, hence, inaccessible to science.

You're kidding right? Didn't a bunch of cults spring up overnight when this "miracle" happened? Fair enough, the mainstream churches all distanced themselves from these nutjobs but at the time the believers all decided that they saw what they saw, science be damned.

I guess you'll refute the above because I haven't provided any sources, but it wouldn't matter because those guys don't represent a true "religious institution" anyway, which of course becomes much easier if you separate religious types into "those that believe the stuff I believe and therefore form a credible religious institution" and "nutjobs"...

Re:Well holy god (1)

hmmm (115599) | more than 2 years ago | (#39925489)

In fairness I think even a few bishops administered a sharp belt of the crozier to the dopy religious eejits who were proclaiming it was a miracle.

This happened the last time we had a recession, I'm surprised it hasn't started happening again. We love a good recession us Catholics we do, it's a truly miserable time and all the better for it.

Re:Well holy god (1)

Nursie (632944) | more than 2 years ago | (#39925505)

That sort of fits in with the ad that was served to me in the middle of TFA. No, this isn't a joke (well, the site may be, but I haven't been there, but the ad is real). It was this -

"The End-Time is Here!
www.the-end.com
2008 was God's last warning. 2012 is economic collapse & WW III"

Some people are crazy.

Re:Well holy god (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39926011)

In fairness I think even a few bishops administered a sharp belt of the crozier to the dopy religious eejits

They didn't do it to all of them. Only to the ones they could reach diagonally.

Re:Well holy god (1)

Dishevel (1105119) | more than 2 years ago | (#39927987)

The worst of the nutjobs are easy to spot.
If you think that aliens dumped bodies into a volcano in Hawaii and that is the cause of all your problems. You are a nutjob.
If you believe in the teachings of a book and then do exactly the opposite because the church tells you to. You are a nutjob.
If you kill women and children because your God told you to. You are a nutjob.
If you believe that a perfect God is vengeful, petty and mean. You are a nutjob.
The rest of you are just wrong. :)
Unless of course you are current members of "The Cult of Foamy" in good standing.

Re:Well holy god (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39928573)

What the ... you've only begun to scratch the surface.

Re:Well holy god (1)

Dishevel (1105119) | more than 2 years ago | (#39928805)

Yes. I only as per my post went after the worst of them.
Long live Foamy. May Foamy save me from his Squirrely Wrath.

Re:Well holy god (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39929637)

No one gives a fuck what your tiny little mind thinks, fucktard.

ALL religion is a fairy tale designed to control gullible morons.

Re:Well holy god (4, Insightful)

thePig (964303) | more than 2 years ago | (#39925459)

My understanding is that they have not solved it, rather they have just suggested a mechanism. They found that even when there are no tsunamis the rocks are moving. They now think that storm waves could be a reason for it. If I understand correctly, they have not done the calculations for it.

So, now we have a hypothesis. Once the calculations and simulations are done, only then we will know for sure. Moving such big rocks means a lot of energy. Especially when it doesnt float. Can a positive feedback loop generate this much energy ? If so, who knows, positive feedback tidal waves could be the next big thing in renewable energy :)

Re:Well holy god (4, Interesting)

Troyusrex (2446430) | more than 2 years ago | (#39925851)

Once the calculations and simulations are done, only then we will know for sure.

I couldn't agree LESS. Simulations don't prove anything. They are just imperfect models of the world to help our understanding. Proof would be to measure a REAL storm wave moving the bolder.

Proof with simulation (1)

DrYak (748999) | more than 2 years ago | (#39925941)

Proof would be to measure a REAL storm wave moving the bolder.

Or use the simulation and see if a wave occurs as predicted by it.

Re:Well holy god (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39929059)

Simulations help disprove incorrect theories.

Yes, they are imperfect models of the world. Yes, it would help to measure a real storm, but even this doesn't PROVE a theory, just help to disprove an incorrect one.

Science progresses by disproving the incorrect theories, not by proving things correct: there is no way of proving a theory correct. But simulations provide a very useful method of encoding our theories in a testable way (e.g. something like the Navier-Stokes equations are too complex to be tested otherwise).

Re:Well holy god (2)

Smallhacker (2038782) | more than 2 years ago | (#39925479)

Don't. Blink.

I thought the cause was established years ago (4, Funny)

Grayhand (2610049) | more than 2 years ago | (#39925313)

I was always told the cause of seeing boulders move in Ireland was Whiskey.

Re:I thought the cause was established years ago (4, Funny)

c0lo (1497653) | more than 2 years ago | (#39925461)

I was always told the cause of seeing boulders move in Ireland was Whiskey.

Depends... if you see the boulder moving up, 't's Whiskey and you're lying on the ground... if downward, it's stout (and you're taking a leak on the boulder).

Re:I thought the cause was established years ago (1)

bazmail (764941) | more than 2 years ago | (#39925665)

haha yes. and france surrenders and in russia thing are opposite.

Oblig Brian O'Nolan reference (1)

Kupfernigk (1190345) | more than 2 years ago | (#39927007)

Dr. Brian O'Nolan, aka Miles nCopaleen, one of Ireland's greatest humorous writers and a great student of the Irish language, once remarked that the only four words you really needed to know to get by in Western Ireland were downpour, eternity, whiskey and potatoes. The French, on the other hand, were frequently militarily successful until the start of WW2 (and, as the US discovered, weren't the only round-eyes who couldn't hold on to Vietnam), whereas the Russians themselves joke about the perversity of life in Russia. So: sarcastic exemplar fail.

Re:Oblig Brian O'Nolan reference (2)

bazmail (764941) | more than 2 years ago | (#39928313)

Living in the west of Ireland myself (Galway), I can tell you that is not true. I've never even heard of that improbably named gentleman who you claim is "one of Ireland's greatest humorous writers and a great student of the Irish language". (An unlikely name as in Irish, n never goes before c, also double-e would be an i "fada")

Maybe he markets himself to americans as such to part you from your hard-earned. Who knows.

A lot of Irish (and especially English, e.g. John Cleese, Sharon Osbourne etc) make a living in America by pandering to long held ethnic stereotypes that Americans fully believe in. This guy, assuming he is actually Irish, is just doing likewise. When you challenge the cherished and stereotypical view of the world that Americans hold dear, Americans get confused, resentful and angry.

Hope you've learned something today.

Re:Oblig Brian O'Nolan reference (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39928555)

No we don't, is that what American's sell themselves as in Ireland to part you from your hard earned? :] There's plenty of Americans that don't have their head up ass and aren't as we're portrayed. You'll probably never meet us because we're to poor to travel to Ireland.

Re:Oblig Brian O'Nolan reference (1)

hmmm (115599) | more than 2 years ago | (#39928701)

You've never heard of Myles na gCopaleen/Flann O'Brien? Seriously? Ask some of your friends have they heard of him, I guarantee most will.

Re:Oblig Brian O'Nolan reference (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39929099)

The pendant was complaining about the spelling: Miles nCopaleen vs. Myles na gCopaleen.

Re:Oblig Brian O'Nolan reference (2)

H0p313ss (811249) | more than 2 years ago | (#39928927)

Brian O'Nolan [wikipedia.org]

Brian O'Nolan (Irish: Brian Ó Nualláin) (5 October 1911 – 1 April 1966) was an Irish novelist, playwright and satirist regarded as a key figure in postmodern literature.[1] Born in Strabane, County Tyrone, he is best known for English language novels such as At Swim-Two-Birds, and The Third Policeman (written under the nom de plume Flann O'Brien) as well as many satirical columns in The Irish Times and an Irish language novel An Béal Bocht (written under the name Myles na gCopaleen), O'Nolan has also been referred to as a "scientific prophet" in relation to his writings on thermodynamics, quaternion theory and atomic theory.

Re:Oblig Brian O'Nolan reference (1)

readin (838620) | more than 2 years ago | (#39929545)

A lot of Irish (and especially English, e.g. John Cleese, Sharon Osbourne etc) make a living in America by pandering to long held ethnic stereotypes that Americans fully believe in.

It is one thing to laugh at a stereotype; it is quite another to "fully believe in" it. If you really believe that all or even most Americans "fully believe in" those stereotypes, then I suggest that you have made the mistake of fully believing in an incorrect stereotype.

Sea aliens?? (3, Interesting)

dkf (304284) | more than 2 years ago | (#39925325)

Why would anyone think that sea aliens would do such a thing, when there are Selkies [wikipedia.org] about?

Re:Sea aliens?? (1)

Sulphur (1548251) | more than 2 years ago | (#39925493)

Why would anyone think that sea aliens would do such a thing, when there are Selkies [wikipedia.org] about?

Especially in the Shetlands where they resemble small horses.

Wow (-1, Flamebait)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 2 years ago | (#39925373)

They only just worked out it was the waves. It reminds me of the joke about the Irishman who studied medicine for five years. He cam to the conclusion that it was nasty tasting stuff that came in a glass bottle.

Re:Wow (5, Interesting)

sleiper (1772326) | more than 2 years ago | (#39925419)

It was a local man that told the US students about how the sea "washed" a 78 tonne boulder up onto the beach. I would suggest the locals knew this happened and just didn't care or bother to work out why. Occasionally a storm will blow sea-weed from the beach 2 miles to my front door during a storm, so I assume that's normal because it always happens. Their rocks are just a bit bigger :D

Re:Wow (-1, Redundant)

Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) | more than 2 years ago | (#39925449)

Yes, because racist jokes are funny. Don't tell me, you're English.

I guess for some people the world just never moved on from the 1950s.

Re:Wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39925463)

Sorry to burst your bubble but the Irish are not a race.

Re:Wow (0)

Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) | more than 2 years ago | (#39925473)

My bubble's quite intact, never fear.

Re:Wow (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 2 years ago | (#39925503)

Shut it O'Malley.. we need to be goin', the pub is about to open and I need a pint in me to deal with these english bastards.

I can do that, I'm irish!

Cosnóimid Tír na nÓg go deo!!

Re:Wow (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39925555)

You can do that but you'll still look like a dick.

Re:Wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39927801)

Better to look like one than have a super tiny one that everyone thinks is a clitoris like you.

Re:Wow (1, Funny)

sleiper (1772326) | more than 2 years ago | (#39925491)

Sure they are, they share many characteristics of being a race, similar cultural background, they share a Celtic background with the Scottish, Cornish, welsh and French, shared language in Irish Gaelic, small geographic ancestry from the west of Europe, and distinct physical appearance, they are all small, red headed drunks with a perchance for green and pots of gold.

Re:Wow (2)

sleiper (1772326) | more than 2 years ago | (#39925511)

Depends if you are taking a Sociological or Anthropological view of race.

Re:Wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39928823)

Is that where it comes from? I'm only 1/16th Irish, but I seem to have inherited their hankering for pots of gold. Haven't found one, yet...

Re:Wow (4, Funny)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | more than 2 years ago | (#39925933)

Sorry to burst your bubble but the Irish are not a race.

Oh no; we're a competition.

Re:Wow (1)

H0p313ss (811249) | more than 2 years ago | (#39929041)

Sorry to burst your bubble but the Irish are not a race.

That's arguable given the cultural history of Ireland, however you would be hard put to not identify the Irish as a Nation [wikipedia.org]

A nation may refer to a community of people who share a common language, culture, ethnicity, descent, or history.[1] In this definition, a nation has no physical borders. However, it can also refer to people who share a common territory and government (for example the inhabitants of a sovereign state) irrespective of their ethnic make-up.[2][3] In international relations, nation can refer to a country or sovereign state.[1] The word nation can more specifically refer to people of North American Indians, such as the Cherokee Nation that prefer this term over the contested term tribe.

Discriminating against an entire nation is a form of xenophobia which is largely akin to racism. (If I go any further someone will call Godwin and we can all go home...)

Re:Wow (1)

clickclickdrone (964164) | more than 2 years ago | (#39925733)

I guess for some people the world just never moved on from the 1950s

We just take our cue from all those Irish people who still live in the 1920's and think it's just fine hating each other for backing the wrong religion team.

Re:Wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39925751)

Thats northern ireland, a british adminstered territory, a completely different country. Racial and sectarian tensions springing up wherever the yucks go? say it ain't so.

Re:Wow (0)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 2 years ago | (#39926403)

Thats northern ireland, a british adminstered territory, a completely different country.

If only all the Irish thought this way there would never have been a conflict.

Re:Wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39927303)

If only the english had stayed out of the place originally there likewise would never have been a conflict.

Re:Wow (1)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 2 years ago | (#39927565)

If only the english had stayed out of the place originally there likewise would never have been a conflict.

s/english/scots/.

Of course we drove the Scots out of the highlands so it is still our fault indirectly.

Re:Wow (2, Insightful)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | more than 2 years ago | (#39925889)

I guess for some people the world just never moved on from the 1950s.

Well I'm Irish, living in Ireland, and as far as I can tell from watching the country fall apart around me; no, things don't seem to have moved on very much at all.

The country was bankrupted by a drunken Taoiseach, and is now being pauperised by religious one. People are emigrating in droves and TDs respond by complain about the problems of "fornication". Landlords, lawyers, and bankers are living high on an ascendancy hoc while everyone else is being squeezed dry, and the country is once again a pawn in the games of European great powers.

Frankly, things here don't seem to have moved on very much from the 1850s.

Personally, I found the joke amusing. I'm faced with enough incompetence to know that it's probably half true anyway.

Re:Wow (3, Interesting)

Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) | more than 2 years ago | (#39925925)

There isn't one sentence in there resembling reality. The country was bankrupted by a lying scumbag (Ahern) and an incompetent Finance Minister (Lenihan). Cowen was just a puppet. I must have missed the great fornication debate that seems to be taking up 100% of the time of 100% of the politicians in the country. Oh wait, no I didn't, because it was one back country TD making one ridiculous comment. More news you appear to have missed, the landlords of some twenty plus houses were forcibly evicted from their own palatial residence recently, there are plenty of unemployed solicitors, and even bankers have joined the dole queues. I know a few of them personally.

Perhaps the time has come for you to take a good look in the mirror and ask yourself who is looking back, because its not someone with a firm grasp on reality. That's even if you are in Ireland, because nobody here refers to solicitors as "lawyers".

Re:Wow (1)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | more than 2 years ago | (#39926145)

The country was bankrupted by a lying scumbag (Ahern) and an incompetent Finance Minister (Lenihan). Cowen was just a puppet.

That suggestion was quickly met with a fiery and typically bolshie response from Brian Cowen -- the man on whose watch as finance minister most of the worst crimes were committed. "We're not fucking nationalising Anglo," [independent.ie] he shouted as he slammed the table.

I must have missed the great fornication debate that seems to be taking up 100% of the time of 100% of the politicians in the country. Oh wait, no I didn't, because it was one back country TD making one ridiculous comment.

Context is everything [blogspot.com] . The comments were made in the middle of a debate about

....women who were forced to travel abroad for medical terminations when they found the babies they were carrying were missing vital organs, like brains, and were completely unviable outside the womb.

More news you appear to have missed, the landlords of some twenty plus houses were forcibly evicted from their own palatial residence recently, there are plenty of unemployed solicitors, and even bankers have joined the dole queues. I know a few of them personally.

I'll just refer you and all your friends who have run off to London and transferred assets to their wives and children to this article on the grand delusions of property "victims" [irishexaminer.com] .

Perhaps the time has come for you to take a good look in the mirror and ask yourself who is looking back, because its not someone with a firm grasp on reality.

The time has come for you to go back to reading the Irish Times and pretending that there's nothing wrong with the country. Why don't you spend today reading their latest barrage of pro Fiscal Treaty propaganda. And while you're at it, ask yourself where a newspaper in the middle of a recession got the money to pay for all those columnists and shiny new supplements.

That's even if you are in Ireland, because nobody here refers to solicitors as "lawyers".

It's a collective term for barristers, laywers, and crooks. I suspect you're friends with quite a few yourself.

Re:Wow (3, Funny)

garyebickford (222422) | more than 2 years ago | (#39926293)

Cool! An Irish flame war - that's something I haven't seen on /. before! *GB fills his cup, sits back to watch.

Re:Wow (1)

Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) | more than 2 years ago | (#39926425)

That suggestion was quickly met with a fiery and typically bolshie response from Brian Cowen -- the man on whose watch as finance minister most of the worst crimes were committed. "We're not fucking nationalising Anglo," [independent.ie] he shouted as he slammed the table.

So what? He took his orders from Ahern, and Ahern set things in motion in such a way that a crash was inevitable. Lenihan then authorised the disastrous blanket banking guarantee after a tense and secret midnight meeting with the top bankers.

Context is everything [blogspot.com] . The comments were made in the middle of a debate about

....women who were forced to travel abroad for medical terminations when they found the babies they were carrying were missing vital organs, like brains, and were completely unviable outside the womb

...what does that have to do with what I said? You're painting visions of politicians tearing their hair out over "fornication" when it was just one nutty backwoods TD, who has since been kept firmly muzzled by the party.

I'll just refer you and all your friends who have run off to London and transferred assets to their wives and children to this article on the grand delusions of property "victims" [irishexaminer.com] .

Oh right so all of the investment property owners in the country have run off to London have they? What nonsense. You're again trying to paint a picture of champagne-quaffing nascent upper classes, when the reality is that anyone unwise enough to have invested in property over the last twelve years here is in deeper trouble than anyone.

The time has come for you to go back to reading the Irish Times and pretending that there's nothing wrong with the country.

And he finishes off by putting words in my mouth. I never said there was nothing wrong with the country. I said it was racist to stereotype Irish people as stupid, which it is. And if that's not patently obvious, there really is something wrong with you. Here try this experiment: replace the word "Irishman" in the op with "black man" and see how that goes down.

Re:Wow (1)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | more than 2 years ago | (#39927089)

I said it was racist to stereotype Irish people as stupid, which it is. And if that's not patently obvious, there really is something wrong with you.

But what are we supposed to do when the stereotype starts ringing true? Pretend there's no basis to it? Or that anyone pointing out flaws in the Irish is always wrong, or racist, or should be ignored?

You need to ask yourself the question: What if the Irish really _are_ a race of feckless, stupid, drunks, and the present state of the country is the proof of it? Should we ignore the possibility, or should we actually try to examine our issues and deal with our sick culture of governance?

You said people still thought it was the 1950s, when the country really was a utter basket case. My view is that not much has changed in the last 50 years. Ireland hasn't earned any new stereotypes.

Re:Wow (1)

Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) | more than 2 years ago | (#39927221)

But what are we supposed to do when the stereotype starts ringing true? Pretend there's no basis to it?

What the hell is wrong with you. Every single point about the "stupidity" of Irish people above has been demolished, even the ad hominems and strawmen you wheeled out, and you're still sticking to this madness. I'm making no excuses for the government or the political system that muppet DeValera landed on us, but as if to say Ireland is the only country in the world that elected bad politicians from time to time. The Germans elected a couple of bad politicians in the not too distant past, are you calling them stupid as well?

You need to ask yourself the question: What if the Irish really _are_ a race of feckless, stupid, drunks, and the present state of the country is the proof of it? Should we ignore the possibility, or should we actually try to examine our issues and deal with our sick culture of governance?

There is no race of stupid feckless drunks, and only a stupid person would imagine there is. Although if you want to go down that road:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/healthnews/7616405/Britain-is-the-binge-drinking-capital-of-Europe.html [telegraph.co.uk]

Of course that won't fit into the narrative you've constructed for yourself, even though its coming from the Torygraph, not noted for being critical of all things British. There are problems here as with every country on the planet, none of which makes a racist joke any less racist. Tell me, what part of Ireland are you from?

Re:Wow (1)

fremsley471 (792813) | more than 2 years ago | (#39927127)

I said it was racist to stereotype Irish people as stupid, which it is.

We all agree. But then you suggested the person making the remark was English. Pot, meet kettle.

Re:Wow (1)

hey! (33014) | more than 2 years ago | (#39927205)

Ah, well. What would Ireland be without pointless suffering at the hands of stupid, greedy blockheads?

I lived near Kilburn once... (1)

Kupfernigk (1190345) | more than 2 years ago | (#39927107)

Kilburn is (used to be?) the Irish quarter of London. Superb music in the pubs, and believe me, they told one another far more "offensive" jokes than that. Dubliners think people from Cork are stupid, and both agree that people from the West Coast are really, really stupid.

True story: I was in an Irish glaziers in Kilburn when a man came in with an order. He started to read it out and the man behind the counter said "How do I know that comes from your boss? If I know him he'll deny all knowledge of it." The other guy said "Look, he's signed it at the bottom". The reply? "I know your boss, he's capable of forging his own signature." Yes, it's the sense of humour. They know precisely what they're saying.

Re:I lived near Kilburn once... (1)

Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) | more than 2 years ago | (#39927455)

That's called "slagging", and its something of an art form in certain circles. :D The op, not so much. Look, right now I'm arguing with a guy who seriously seems to think the Irish are "a race of feckless, stupid, drunks", and that's not funny at all. I hope the difference is clear.

Re:Wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39928511)

Mostly off topic, but as of this post I started reading all the comments in some sort of Gaelic descendant accent. Since I have not spent enough time around Scots and Irish, I honestly don't know if the accent was Irish, Scottish, Gaelic, Speretheriel, or simply the Sean Connery impersonator from SNL Celebrity Jeopardy.

Re:Wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39925535)

Unintended self defeating irony, you don't see that too often these days.

Density is what matters (1)

flyingfsck (986395) | more than 2 years ago | (#39925413)

Maybe the boulders can float. These rocks don't look like basalt/granite and can therefore move around more easily when submerged.

Re:Density is what matters (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39925445)

The boulders stay where they are. Somebody moved the island. Ben? Locke?

Re:Density is what matters (1)

petsounds (593538) | more than 2 years ago | (#39925517)

"And what also floats in water?"

"Bread!"
"Apples!"
"...Very small rocks!"

I'm afraid the Scientists of the Knights of the Round Table have concluded that only *tiny* rocks may float as you suggest.

Re:Density is what matters (1)

DarwinSurvivor (1752106) | more than 2 years ago | (#39925747)

In all fairness, they never said biggere ones *don't*, just that the small ones *do*.

Re:Density is what matters (2)

laejoh (648921) | more than 2 years ago | (#39925753)

A duck!

Re:Density is what matters (1)

garyebickford (222422) | more than 2 years ago | (#39926313)

I used to live in central Oregon, and a reservoir near where I lived had rocks that floated - even biggish ones. They are made of pumice, rocks full of air. (Hmm. I wonder - is it air by now, or is it the hellish fumes from the volcano still trapped inside?)

Re:Density is what matters (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39926359)

Well, some rocks [wikipedia.org] do float in water [swisseduc.ch] and are surprisingly light [indiana.edu] . The Scientists of the Knights of the Round Table weren't *that* crazy :-)

But these ones look like limestone, which isn't particularly prone to floating.

I went to a catholic school in Northern Ireland (3, Funny)

neokushan (932374) | more than 2 years ago | (#39925509)

In the middle of one of our courtyards, we had a small shrine with a statue of Mary, depicting the appearance of her at Lourdes. There was also a lot of rocks and plants for decoration.

One day, we came into school and one of the larger boulders had been moved across the yard to the other side. It had a note attached to it saying "It's a miracle, it moved!".

True story.

Re:I went to a catholic school in Northern Ireland (1)

cvtan (752695) | more than 2 years ago | (#39925841)

No human could move rocks like that.

Re:I went to a catholic school in Northern Ireland (1)

jackbird (721605) | more than 2 years ago | (#39928865)

How about a human driving a backhoe?

Question (1)

StripedCow (776465) | more than 2 years ago | (#39925559)

Are they sure that it wasn't Ireland that was moving instead?

They don't get it... (1, Funny)

erroneus (253617) | more than 2 years ago | (#39925625)

...it's the Leprechauns.

And no mention of their American Cousins? (5, Interesting)

way2trivial (601132) | more than 2 years ago | (#39925763)

has no one heard of the sailing stones?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sailing_stones [wikipedia.org]

Sailing stones, sliding rocks, and moving rocks all refer to a geological phenomenon where rocks move in long tracks along a smooth valley floor without human or animal intervention. They have been recorded and studied in a number of places around Racetrack Playa, Death Valley, where the number and length of travel grooves are notable. The force behind their movement is not confirmed and is the subject of research.

Which by the way- occur on land masses devoid of water????

Re:And no mention of their American Cousins? (5, Informative)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 2 years ago | (#39925887)

The force behind their movement is not confirmed and is the subject of research.

Irony: It has been confirmed, and it is ice

Re:And no mention of their American Cousins? (2)

JasterBobaMereel (1102861) | more than 2 years ago | (#39926395)

Death valley, is not devoid of Water, it does actually get very cold there sometimes ....

The Sailing stones probably move by differential ice formation

The rocks in Ireland were assumed to have moved during the last Tsunami (1700's) but now someone has bothered to study them, they have found they have definitely moved recently, just like the locals said all along) , the mechanism is unlikely to be the same as the desert rocks ...?

Re:And no mention of their American Cousins? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39926547)

I buy rocks from a neighboring farmer of mine who said rocks push up out of the ground due to the ground freezing in the winter. If the ground was sloping I could see how the rocks might roll downhill.

Re:And no mention of their American Cousins? (1)

petteyg359 (1847514) | more than 2 years ago | (#39927595)

I'm pretty sure that it gets very cold in places without water, and gets very wet in places where it doesn't get very cold. So, what exactly is the purpose of your first statement?

Re:And no mention of their American Cousins? (1)

nedlohs (1335013) | more than 2 years ago | (#39928813)

If there is both water and it gets cold then you can get ice. Surely that was obvious???

Re:And no mention of their American Cousins? (1)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 2 years ago | (#39928803)

The racetrack playa isn't devoid of water in the winter. Look it up on youtube sometime. They also have strong winds.

Re:And no mention of their American Cousins? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39929907)

Been there twice. Very cool place!

metres != miles (1)

dotbot (2030980) | more than 2 years ago | (#39926045)

FTFA (first line):

How did a 78-ton boulder travel 17 miles above high water, 130 meters inland?

This is the start of an entirely different news article that I can complete in two words: it didn't.

Re:metres != miles (1)

ChipMonk (711367) | more than 2 years ago | (#39926339)

That makes about as much sense as measuring the slope of a sidewalk wheelchair ramp as centimeters of rise per feet of run.

Re:metres != miles (1)

darrylo (97569) | more than 2 years ago | (#39928875)

I think it's trying to reach low-earth orbit.

Obvious (1)

kbg (241421) | more than 2 years ago | (#39926137)

I can't believe that this was a mystery. This is completely obvious to anyone who can think. There is a similar phenomenon with the moving rocks in the Death Valley. If you have water and wind you can basically move anything given enough time.

Re:Obvious (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | more than 2 years ago | (#39927341)

In all fairness, though, this 'new' research doesn't so much offer an explanation as a different theory than that derived from previous research. The use of indefinite terms (such as " backflow may amplify") indicate to me the questionably validity of their 'results.' The day "may" and "could" equate to "will" and "does" is the day I turn in my skeptic's credentials.

Not to mention one of the team being quoted as “Unless you have little green men from mars doing this on the quiet, it must be storm waves,” which I read as "If you don't believe I'm right you're an idiotic nutcase." Sorry, Charlie, I don't buy that line of 'reasoning,' especially from someone who considers themselves a scientists.

Wave this (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | more than 2 years ago | (#39926445)

Aren't leprechauns much more parsimonious?

Climate Change (2)

da007 (242994) | more than 2 years ago | (#39926563)

The oceans are just receding

leprechauns (1)

j00r0m4nc3r (959816) | more than 2 years ago | (#39927391)

And thus the leprechauns secret was safe for another 100 years

Title of summary is misleading. (2)

hey! (33014) | more than 2 years ago | (#39927509)

Instead of "Scientists Solve Mystery of Ireland's Moving Boulders" it should read "Scientists *Deepen* Mystery of Ireland's Moving Boulders."

This is what the linked article amounts to. Scientists believed that tsunamis moved the boulders in question. Comparing aerial photos to old surveys of the islands show that can't be the explanation, because boulders have moved since the last tsunami. The scientists then speculated that it might be rogue waves. Then they ginned up a plausible mechanism by which rogue waves might be more common on Aran than thought. Because it was plausible they concluded that *must* be the explanation, because the next best thing they could think up is little green men.

For the record, I think rogue waves moved the boulders. I've seen what waves can do to stony reefs, and the power of water is not to be underestimated. But I have no proof, and neither do they. If the articles are to be believed (which is often doubtful), they researchers are building models around the *assumption* that it must have been rogue waves. Using such a model as evidence of its assumptions would be begging the question.

Math problem? (1)

gstrickler (920733) | more than 2 years ago | (#39927511)

Or just inconsistent writing?

"How has a 78-ton boulder traveled 130 meters inland from the sea since 1991? ... Some boulders move inland at an average rate of nearly 3 meters per decade,....

The way I learned math 130m in 21 years is much greater than 3m/decade.

Free Will (1)

Sentrion (964745) | more than 2 years ago | (#39928129)

This is evidence that, as suggested by Aristotle thousands of years ago, rocks have free will. They are not pulled to the center of the earth by an "invisible" force as was suggested by Newton, but the rocks prefer to be closer to larger rocks, of which our planet is a colony of closely connected rocks. The rocks in Ireland are most likely moving inland of their own free will so they can self-assemble into structures such as the one found at Stonehenge in England. Even when faced with clear and convincing evidence, the unbelievers grasp at straws and try to make up absurd explanations for the truth that is revealed in front of them. Everybody knows that there is no mechanical means that early humans could have used to drag stones hundreds of miles to Stonehenge. The same is true for the stones that assembled into the pyramids at Egypt. Now we are supposed to believe that storm waves are moving the stones, against all plausible logic or liklihood - AND WITHOUT EVIDENCE. A pure hypothesis of those who refuse to believe. It is time for all humanity to pull their heads out of the sand and embrace the reality that rocks have free will and are the dominant life form on this planet. I, for one, welcome our ancient geologic overlords!

Re:Free Will (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39928519)

Then why did the pyramids leave convenient burial chambers and exit tunnels?

Not the same for Death Valley boulders (1)

sl4shd0rk (755837) | more than 2 years ago | (#39928343)

"Once a corral of wooden stakes was placed around two of the rocks. The team then left. (Remember, the rocks won't move when anyone is around.) When they returned, one rock had moved out, while the other stayed in the corral. The rocks seem to slide rather than roll, but to this day, no one knows why. The only certainty is that something is either pushing or pulling them."

TFA is a good theory for Ireland but there must be something else at work in Death Valley. Ice has been ruled out as well.

http://voices.yahoo.com/moving-rocks-death-valley-national-park-13323.html [yahoo.com]

What about other locations? (1)

fadethepolice (689344) | more than 2 years ago | (#39929061)

I thought this phenomena also occurred int he high desert of chile? Ocean waves will not explain those ones..

Not 78-tons under water (1)

tomhath (637240) | more than 2 years ago | (#39929635)

It's pretty easy for moving water to move large rocks. Their "weight" underwater is far less than in air.

What's that thumping sound? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39930045)

...oh it's just Tesla yet again....

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