Space, Physics, and Math
VIDEO: Rock music
What makes these boulders ring?
Marissa Shieh • June 28, 2017
Some unusual boulder fields lay scattered across Pennsylvania and New Jersey. What’s special? The rocks ring like bells when struck with a hammer.
Despite the rocks’ popularity, the question of why they ring has been largely abandoned by scientists. The only rudimentary answers appear in an obscure publication in 1970 by a Rutgers researcher who barely left a digital trace.
So Scienceline correspondents Harrison Tasoff and Marissa Shieh went out to one of these boulder fields with geologist Lawrence Malinconico of Lafayette College and composer Joseph Bertolozzi to experience and explain the ringing rocks.
You’ve obviously never heard of our famous Musical Bridge over the Owenmore River at Bellacorick in N. Mayo, Ireland? The capstone slabs of hard limestone ring out when struck with another stone.
If you haven’t heard of it either then stop and play it next time you’re driving on the N59 near the Ballycroy National Park, grid ref 54.116667, -9.583333. It’s magic!