According to legend, two gods fighting for control of Split Apple Rock created the famous rock formation we all know and love today. They tore it apart and left an intriguing spectacle for us to marvel at!
At least, that’s what Maori legends say. But what really caused Split Apple Rock?
The most likely cause of Split Apple Rock is a natural phenomenon known as ice wedging. This process occurs when water seeps into cracks in a rock and then freezes.
As the water freezes, it expands, putting pressure on the surrounding rock. This pressure can eventually cause the rock to split.
The Geological Formation of Split Apple Rock
Split Apple Rock is a geological formation known as a ‘tors’, which forms in certain types of granitic rocks. The process of tors formation involves intense weathering and erosion over millions of years.
Initially, the rock was part of a large granite mass. Over time, weathering processes such as ice wedging created cracks in the granite.
These cracks allowed water to seep in. As we said earlier, when this water froze and expanded, it caused the rock to split, resulting in the unique formation we see today.
This process is not unique to Split Apple Rock alone, but it’s the perfect balance of the split and the shape of the rock that makes it a rare and captivating sight.
The Role of Weathering and Erosion
Weathering and erosion play a pivotal role in sculpting the remarkable landscapes we see around us, including formations like Split Apple Rock.
Weathering refers to the breaking down or weakening of rocks and minerals at or near the Earth’s surface. This process involves factors including water, ice, changes in temperature, and even biological activity.
However, in the case of Split Apple Rock, weathering was largely through ice wedging, where water infiltrated the rock’s cracks, froze, and expanded, causing the rock to split.
On the other hand, erosion is the process that transports the weathered materials away. Over time, weathering and erosion have worked together to shape the granite formation into the Split Apple Rock we see today.
The force of water, wind, and gravity transported away smaller particles, smoothing and shaping the rock into its round apple-like shape. The interplay between weathering and erosion over millions of years has thus given us the impressive and intriguing formation of Split Apple Rock.