Stonehenge remains the most architecturally sophisticated prehistoric stone circle on the planet. But a new study grants new insight, revealing that the rocks used for the structure are almost half as old as the planet itself.
The intriguing new information is brought by the New York Post. Robert Phillips took home a piece of rock that was recently studied by researchers from the University of Brighton.
An extremely durable construction
David Nash, geomorphologist and leader of the new study, declared for Reuters that the fact of the monument’s minerals forming 1.6 billion years ago explains the long durability.
Nash said, as quoted by Reuters:
This explains the stone’s resistance to weathering and why it made an ideal material for monument-building.
The new study reveals that the silcrete compound of the rocks is mostly composed of grains that are cemented together with the help of interlocking crystals of quartz. That quartz is very durable and it’s not easily exposed to erosion.
The megaliths are made of silcrete, a type of stone that formed gradually as a result of groundwater that washed through the underground sediment.
David Nash also declared for Reuters:
Getting access to the core drilled from Stone 58 was very much the Holy Grail for our research,
All the previous work on sarsens at Stonehenge involved samples either excavated from the site or knocked off from random stones.
Nash also said that he thinks Stonehenge has fascinated researchers for centuries because it’s unknown what the construction was used for exactly. However, he notes that the site is still rich when it comes to the possibility of doing more research.
The Stonehenge prehistoric monument is located on Salisbury Plain in Wildshire, England, meaning two miles west of Amesbury.