was, or is still,
is it and, if yes, to what extent is it
made by man or overworked by man?
This is the question."
Yonaguni - The Oldest Building in The World
Dr Wolf Wichmann,
geologist, Yonaguni, March 2001
I was in Tokyo in 1996 when the photojournalist Ken Shindo
showed me the first images I had ever seen of an awe-inspiring
terraced structure, apparently a man-made monument of some kind,
lying at depths of up to 30 meters off the Japanese island of
Yonaguni at the remote south-west end of the Ryukyu
was the moment, if there ever was just one moment, when the "Underworld" quest began for me and when much that I had learnt in
previous years in many different countries began to swing sharply
into focus and make sense. I felt an immediate compulsion to explore
the beautiful and mysterious structure that beckoned so alluringly
from the photographs. And I realized that it would rewrite
prehistory if it could indeed be proved to be man-made.
I described in Chapter One how Santha and I learned to dive, and the
remarkable synchronicities and good fortune that brought us to
Yonaguni in March 1997 to begin a systematic programme of underwater
photography and research there that was to continue until mid-2001.
I also described some of the other rock-hewn underwater structures
that we dived at with our Japanese colleagues at other locations in
the Ryukyus – notably at Kerama, Aguni and
Chatan at the northern
end of the archipelago.
The most complex and intractable problem shared by all of these
otherwise very different structures is also the simplest and most
obvious question that anyone might wish to ask about them: were they
shaped and carved by human hands or could they have ended up looking
the way they do as a result of natural weathering and the erosive
weapons of the sea?
Though they have an important role to play, geologists are not the
only people qualified to decide the answer to such a question.
Likewise, though they too are indispensable, archaeologists cannot
be the final arbiters. On the contrary, if ever a multi-disciplinary
approach was called for then it is here!
For as I've tried to show in the previous chapters Japan confronts
us with a prehistoric cultural and mythological context into which
the rock-hewn structures fit snugly like the missing pieces of a
jigsaw puzzle. This context includes a clear tradition of unknown
antiquity - still manifest in the present day - in which huge rocks
are carved and rearranged amidst sacred natural landscapes. Since
this is precisely the puzzling and ambiguous aspect - part natural
and part man-made - of the underwater structures scattered around
the Ryukyu archipelago, it is foolish and irresponsible to ignore
the possibility of a connection.
Yet it is equally foolish and irresponsible to ignore what geology
and archaeology have to say on the matter.
So it is time, I think, to provide a thorough reckoning.
The Three Geologists
Three qualified geologists --
Masaaki Kimura , Robert Schoch and
Wolf Wichmann -- have dived at Yonaguni, acquired first-hand
experience of the underwater structures, and commented publicly on
what they saw. So far as I know, they are, at time of writing, the
only geologists ever to have dived there. Therefore when we speak of
‘geological opinion' concerning the Yonaguni anomalies it is
important to be clear that we are referring to the work and ideas of
just three men who, moreover, do not agree with one another – so
there is no concensus. Other geologists who have expressed views
without diving at Yonaguni hardly qualify to participate in the
Since there are grave issues at stake concerning our understanding
of prehistory and the story of human civilization I propose to
devote the necessary space in this chapter to an accurate summary of
the views of the three main geological protagonists.
The doyen of the group, and in my view the hero of the
for his determination, persistence and refreshingly open-minded
intellectual approach, is Dr Masaaki Kimura, Professor of Marine
Geology at the University of the Ryukyus in Okinawa.
He and his students have completed hundreds of dives around the
monument at Yonaguni as part of a long-term project in which they
have thoroughly measured and mapped it, produced a three-dimensional
model, taken samples of ancient algae encrusted on its walls for
carbon-dating, and sampled the stone of the structure itself.
Professor Kimura's unequivocal conclusion, based on the scientific
evidence, is that the monument is man-made and that it was hewn out
of the bedrock when it still stood above sea-level -- perhaps as
much as 10,000 years ago. The principal arguments that he puts
forward in favor of human intervention are on the record and
include the following:
"Traces of marks that show that human beings worked the stone.
There are holes made by wedge-like tools called kusabi in
2. "Around the outside
of the loop road [a stone-paved pathway connecting principal
areas of the main monument] there is a row of neatly-stacked
rocks as a stone wall, each rock about twice the size of a
person, in a straight line."
are traces carved along the roadway that humans conducted
some form of repairs."
4. "The structure
is continuous from under the water to land, and evidence of
the use of fire is present."
tools are among the artifacts found underwater and on land."
"Stone tablets with carving that appears to be letters or
symbols, such as what we know as the plus mark ‘+' and a ‘V'
shape were retrieved from under water."
"From the waters nearby, stone tools have been retrieved.
Two are for known purposes that we can recognize, the
majority are not."
8. "At the bottom of the sea, a relief
carving of an animal figure was discovered on a huge stone."
9. On the higher surfaces of the structure there are several areas
which slope quite steeply down towards the south. Kimura points out
that deep symmetrical trenches appear on the northern elevations of
these areas which could not have been formed by any known natural
10. A series of steps rises at regular intervals up the south face
of the monument from the pathway at its base, 27 meters underwater,
towards its summit less than 6 meters below the waves. A similar
stairway is found on the monument's northern face.
11. Blocks that must necessarily have been removed (whether by
natural or by human agency) in order to form the monument's
impressive terraces are not found lying in the places where they
would have fallen if only gravity and natural forces were operating;
instead they seem to have been artificially cleared away to one side
and in some cases are absent from the site entirely.
12. The effects of this unnatural and selective clean-up operation
are particularly evident on the rock-cut ‘pathway' [Kimura calls it
the ‘loop road'] that winds around the western and southern faces of
the base of the monument. It passes directly beneath the main
terraces yet is completely clear of the mass of rubble that would
have had to be removed (whether by natural or by human agency) in
order for the terraces to form at all.(2)
The second geologist to dive at
Yonaguni, Professor Robert Schoch of
Boston University, has vacillated tenaciously in his opinions – but
I take this as a sign of an open-minded scholar ever willing to
revise his views in the light of new evidence.
Thus when we first dived there together in September 1997, he was
sure that the structure was man-made.(3) Within a few days, however,
he had changed his mind completely:
"I believe that the structure can be explained as the result of
natural processes The geology of the fine mudstones and sandstones
of the Yonaguni area, combined with wave and current actions and the
lower sea-levels of the area during earlier millennia, were
responsible for the formation of the Yonaguni Monument
about 9000 to 10,000 years ago."(4)
A few days later, Schoch softened his position again:
"After meeting with
Professor Kimura, I cannot totally discount the
possibility that the Yonaguni Monument was at least partially worked
and modified by the hands of humans. Professor Kimura pointed out
several key features that I did not see on my first brief trip. If I
should have the opportunity to revisit the Yonaguni
monument, these are key areas that I would wish to explore."(5)
Schoch did have an opportunity to revisit the structure in the
summer of 1998, carrying out several more dives there. Then in 1999
in an interview given to the BBC science programme
"Horizon" for a documentary attacking my work – and in the
same year in his own book "Voices of the Rocks" -- he expressed what sound like two very
different, even contradictory opinions about the structure.
Here is the relevant section from the
BBC Horizon transcript:
"Yonaguni looked as if it could be a spectacular discovery
and Hancock needed corroboration. He invited the Boston University
geologist Robert Schoch to inspect the site. Professor Schoch has
taken a keen interest in unorthodox views of the past and he
welcomed the chance to examine the underwater discovery. Schoch
dived with Hancock several times at Yonaguni."
PROF. ROBERT SCHOCH (Boston University): "I went there in this case
actually hoping that it was a totally man-made structure that was
now submerged underwater, that dated maybe back to 6,000 BC or more.
When I got there and I got to dive on the structure I have to admit
I was very, very disappointed because I was basically convinced
after a few dives that this was primarily, possibly totally, a
natural structure Isolated portions of it look like they're
man-made, but when you look at it in context you look at the shore
features etc and you see how, in this case, fine sandstones split
along horizontal bedding plains that gives you these regular
features. I'm convinced it's a natural structure."(6)
Well that seems straightforward. But then here is what
Schoch says in "Voices of the Rocks":
"Possibly the choice between
natural and human-made isn't simply
either/or. Yonaguni Island contains a number of old tombs whose
exact age is uncertain, but that are clearly very old. Curiously the
architecture of the tombs is much like that of the monument. It is
possible that humans were imitating the monument in designing the
tombs, and it is equally possible that the monument was itself somehow modified by human hands. That is, the ancient inhabitants of
the island may have partially reshaped or enhanced a natural
structure to give it the form they wished, either as a structure on
its own or as the foundation of a timber, mud or stone building that
has since been destroyed. It is also possible that the monument
served as a quarry from which blocks were cut, following the natural
bedding, joint and fracture planes of the rock, then removed to
construct buildings that are now long gone.
Since it is located
along the coast the Yonaguni Monument may even have served as some
kind of natural boat dock for an early seafaring people. As Dr
Kimura showed me, ancient stone tools beautifully crafted from
igneous rock have been found on Yonaguni. Significantly,
has no naturally exposed igneous rocks, so the tools, or at least
the raw materials from which they were made, must have been imported
from neighboring islands where such rock is found. The tools could
have been used to modify or reshape the natural stone structures now
found underwater off the coast of Yonaguni. The concept of a
human-enhanced natural structure fits well with East Asian
aesthetics, such as the feng shui of China and the Zen-inspired rock
gardens of Japan. A complex interaction between natural and
human-made forms that influenced human art and architecture 8000
years ago is highly possible."(7)
As further evidence for a very ancient human role in the
construction of the Yonaguni monument, Schoch
then sets out an argument of mine, advanced in my 1998 book "Heaven's Mirror", that
the structure is not only man-made but could also have served a
specific astronomical function -- since calculations show that
around 10,000 years ago, when it was above water, it would have
stood on the ancient Tropic of Cancer.(8) Writes
"The ancients, I suspect, knew where the tropic was, and they knew
that its position moved slowly. Since Yonaguni is
close to the most northerly position the tropic reaches in
its lengthy cycle, the island may have been the site of an
astronomically aligned shrine."(9)
In summary, therefore,
Schoch has not come down definitively either
on one side of the fence or on the other but seems to be wavering in
the direction of a compromise in which the structure is both natural
and man-made at the same time.
I cannot avoid adding that all rock-hewn structures, whether the
weird terraced granite outcrop at Qenko near Sacsayhuaman in
Peru,(10) or the wonders of
Petra in Jordan, or the temples of
Mahabalipuram in South India are, by definition partly natural – the
base rock out of which they are hewn – and partly man-made. They
can't help but be anything else.
The third geologist, German science writer
Dr Wolf Wichmann, has
definite opinions and expresses them with certainty. In 1999 he
informed Der Spiegel magazine – who had taken him to Yonaguni --
that he regards the underwater monument as entirely natural. He made
just three dives on the main terraces and then declared:
"I didn't find anything that was man-made."(11)
scientists "haven't got a clue" what the terraced
underwater structure at Yonaguni is, reports Der Spiegel:
‘"It is unlikely to be anything natural" said the oceanographer
Terukai Ishii from Tokyo. Masaaki Kimura, a marine researcher at the
Rykyus University (Okinawa) talks about "a masterpiece". He thinks
the structure is a sacred edifice built by a hitherto unknown
culture possessing advanced technical abilities.
‘The debate going on in the Orient has awakened the curiosity of the
West. People with second sight find themselves magically attracted
by "Iseki Point ("ruins"). At the beginning of 1998 the geologist
Robert Schoch, who believes the Sphinx was built by the people of
Atlantis [sic -- completely untrue; Schoch does not believe any such
thing] swam down to the site and declared it to be "most
interesting". The guru of ancient antiquity and best-selling author
Graham Hancock was also investigating the site. After an excursion
in a submersible he records that at the base of the monument can be
seen a "clearly-defined path." [actually I have never been in a
submersible at Yonaguni and I do not consider my four years of
hands-on diving there as any kind of excursion; there is, however, a
clearly-defined path at the base of the monument].
‘The rock expert
Wolf Wichmann could not corroborate these
conclusions. In the company of a team from SPIEGEL TV he returned to
explore the coastal area, under threat from tsunamis. In a total of
three diving operations he gathered rock samples and measured the
steps and "walls". He was unconvinced by his findings: "I didn't
find anything that was man-made".
‘During the inspection it was revealed that the "gigantic temple" is
nothing but naturally produced bedded rock. The sandstone is
traversed by vertical cracks and horizontal crevices.
Perpendicularity and steps have gradually developed in the fracture
zones. The plateau at the top are referred to by Wichmann as
typical "eroded plains". Such flat areas occur when bedded rock is
located right in the path of the wash of the waves.
‘Suggestive pictures rich in detail and contrast may indeed reveal
something else, but in general the mass of rock looks like a
structure rising out of a sandy bed, with no sign of architectural
design. The plateau have gradient sections, and there is no
perpendicular wall. Some of the steps just end nowhere; others are
in a spiral, like steep hen-roosts.
‘The stony blocks show no signs of mechanical working. "Had the
'ashlars' been hewn by tools, they would have been studded with
flutes and cuts and scratches", said Wichmann. Three circular
recesses on the topmost plateau, referred to by Kimura as column
foundations, are nothing but "potholes". These occur when water
washes through narrow spaces.
‘Facts like these fail to stem the current epidemic of
mystery-fever. The Yonaguni monument has for some time played a key
role in the world picture of archaeological dreamers.(12)
The One Archaeologist
One archaeologist has dived at Yonaguni and studied its underwater
structures first hand. Others in his profession who have commented
have done so from their desks after browsing through photographs or
looking at videotape of the structures. As is the case with the
armchair geologists, their opinions can only be of limited value
until they have dived there themselves.
By contrast the opinion of the only experienced marine archaeologist
in the world who has ever dived at Yonaguni must count for a great
That archaeologist -- whose official report is reproduced in part
below -- is Sundaresh from the National Institute of Oceanography in
Goa, India. The reader will recall that we dived with him and other
NIO archaeologists at Dwarka in March 2000 and again at
February 2001. Between these expeditions in India, Sundaresh
participated with us in an expedition to Yonaguni in September 2000
that had been sponsored once again (as had Robert Schoch's visit in
September 1997) by Seamen's Club.
Also participating in the September 2000 expedition was Kimiya
Homma, a businessman from Hokkaido, whose firm owns two very useful
high-tech ROVs (remotely operated vehicles) for unmanned exploration
in water too deep to be readily reached by divers. So that an
effective search for further structures around Yonaguni could be
mounted in the short time available, Homma had brought one of the
ROV's with him and also an expert team of support staff and
Because it is a unique document of reference, being – so far – the
first and only evaluation of a wide range of Yonaguni's underwater
structures by a marine archaeologist, I reproduce below several
sections from Sundaresh's expedition report. Some of the specific
submerged sites that we visited with Sundaresh during the expedition
are not yet familiar to the reader from the brief account given in
Chapters 1 and 25 but will be described shortly:
THE STUDY OF SUBMERGED STRUCTURES OFF
YONAGUNI ISLAND OF JAPAN: THE
PRELIMINARY RESULTS FROM RECENT EXPEDITION
1-12 September 2000
NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF OCEANOGRAPHY
DONA PAULA, GOA 403 004
Yonaguni is the most south western island of Japan and closest to
Taiwan (about 69 nautical miles). This island is almond shaped with
10 km length from (east to west) and 4 km width (north to south). An
international expedition was organized by the Seamen's Club,
Ishigaki Japan to further explore the underwater structures in the
area. This report describes the archaeological significance of the
structures found during the expedition.
2.0 BACKGROUND INFORMATION OF THE AREA
Underwater massive structures were found initially by Mr. Aratake a
local resident of Yonaguni island during 1986-87. He named this
point as Iseki ("Monument") Point. He was looking for hammerhead
sharks schooling around the island, when a massive man-made
underwater structure was noticed at a depth of 30 m. This was his
first discovery. Later more monuments were found by Aratake and
other divers in nearby Tatigami and "Palace"
4.1 Offshore Explorations
Two boats were chartered for explorations off Yonaguni waters from 2
September 2000 to 8 September 2000. The Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV)
was deployed simultaneously with side scan sonar and echosounder.
The ROV was operated with generator power supply. The system was
operated in waters between 40 to 80 meters depth around Yonaguni.
The survey revealed rock cut channel about 1 m wide and more than 20
m long at 2 sea mounts. The ROV observations were confirmed by
5.1 Terraced Structure and Canal
A large terraced structure of about 250 meters long and 25
height was studied south of the Arakawabana headland. Known locally
as Iseki Point, the terraced structure is bound to the northern side
of an elongated, approximately east-west trending structure,
designated by Professor Masaaki Kimura, University of the Ryukyus,
as an approach road. But our observation of the proposed road-like
structure suggests that it is more likely to be a canal. The overall
width of the terraced structure is around 100m. From each of the
terraces; a staircase leads downwards to the canal (road ?).
The length of the canal appears to be more than 250 m, while the
canal has a width of 25 m. The purpose or utility of this canal
structure is intriguing. Our observation all along the canal
indicates that, the western end of the structure begins underwater
opening away from the terraced structure into the open sea. The
width, height and terraced northern side of the canal force us to
suggest that the canal structure might have served as a channel for
small boats communicating with the Arakawabana headland. The
southern natural outcrop wall probably had provided a buffer wall
for strong open sea waves. This interpretation appears quite
reasonable because the height of the southern wall of natural
outcrop and the northern terraced wall are nearly same. The terraces
and attached staircases might have been used for handling, loading
and unloading boats sailing through the channel. Thus it appears in
all probability that the terraced structure and canal might have
served as a jetty before submergence to present depth.
5.2 Monolith Human Head
monolith that looks like a human head with two eyes and a
mouth was studied at Tatigami Iwa Point. A human-cut large platform
in the same monolith extends outwards at the base of the head. An
approach way leads to this platform from the shore-side.
The surrounding basal platform is quite large (about 2500m2 ), and
could easily have accommodated more than two thousand persons
sitting. The human head and associated platform with an approach
road are suggestive of an area of worship or community gatherings.
5.3 Underwater Cave Area
revealed caves at 8 to 10 m water depth at "Palace" area. The entry to these caves was possible only through
the large 1 meter radius holes on the cave roof. Inside the cave a
boulder about 1 meter diameter engraved with carvings was observed.
About 100 m towards the eastern side of the caves more rock
engravings were noticed on the bedrock. These rock engravings are
believed to be man-made.
Once upon a time these caves were probably on the land and were
later submerged. The rock engravings inside the cave and on the
bedrock were probably carved out by means of a tool of some sort.
However, it is very difficult to say that these are rock art of this
or that period, or a script.
5.4 Megaliths Point
Diving operations revealed two big rectangular blocks measuring 6
meters in height, about 2.5 meters in width (both) and 4.9 meters
thickness which have been located towards the western side of Iseki
point... These rectangular blocks are designated by Japanese workers
as megaliths. These blocks have been located in between two natural
rock outcrops. The approach way to these megaliths is through a
tunnel measuring about 3 m long, 1 m high and 1 m width.
The shape, size and positioning of these megaliths suggest that they
are man-made. It is believed that the people of Japan's extremely
ancient Jomon culture used to worship stones, rocks, (Hancock,
personal communication, 2000). In light of this practice, it may be
worthwhile to suggest that, these megaliths might have been used as
objects of worship. However a thorough investigation in this regard
is necessary before assigning a definite purpose to these megaliths.
The terraced structures with a canal are undoubtedly man-made, built
by cutting an existing huge monolithic outcrop. The rectangular
terraced structure and canal probably might have served as a jetty
for handling, loading/unloading small boats before its submergence
to present depth.
The monolith rock-cut human head and associated platform might have
served as an area of worshiping or community gatherings.
The Score So Far
By my count so far I have one marine archaeologist, Sundaresh, who
is convinced that the Yonaguni structures are "undoubtedly
man-made", and who represents 100 per cent of all the archaeologists
who have ever dived there up to time of writing. I also have one
marine geologist, Masaaki Kimura, who believes the same thing, a
second, Robert Schoch, who is undecided, and a third, Wolf Wichmann
who is convinced that they are natural.
I decided when I got the opportunity that I should try to dive at
Yonaguni with Wichmann and see if I could change his mind. To this
end, a few months after the Der Spiegel article appeared, I made the
following statement on my website:
"I would like to offer a challenge to
Wolf Wichmann. Let us agree a
mutually convenient time to do, say, 20 dives together at Yonaguni
over a period of about a week. I will show you the structures as
I have come to know them, and give you every reason why I think
that the monuments must have been worked on by human beings. You
will do your best to persuade me otherwise. At the end of the
week let's see if either side has had a change of mind."(13)
SCIENTISTS CANNOT DIVE"
In March 2001, on a mini-expedition funded by
Channel 4 Television, Wichmann took up my challenge. A small, wiry, dark-haired,
unpretentious man, I liked him the moment I met him, and continued
to do so throughout the week that we spent diving in Japan and
arguing, in a mood of amiable disagreement, about what we were
Predictably we did not reach a consensus:
Wolf left Yonaguni still
holding most of the opinions with which he had arrived, and so did
I. But I think that we each gave the other some worthy points to
ponder. I know that I benefited from what amounted to a very useful
field seminar on the natural history of submerged rock and began to
understand clearly for the first time exactly how and why a
geologist might conclude that the Yonaguni underwater structures are
entirely natural - or at any rate (to sum up Wolf's position more
accurately) that they all could have been formed by known natural
forces with no necessity for human intervention.
Before going on to
Yonaguni, Wolf and I paid a visit to Professor
Masaaki Kimura at his office in the University of the Ryukyus. I
started the ball rolling with a general question for Professor
Kimura concerning the age of the structure:
GH: People can argue for the next five centuries about whether what
we see underwater at Yonaguni is manmade or artificial. But one
thing which we can hopefully get clear is how old it is when it was
So the first question I want to ask you is what is your view of the
age of this structure? The last time that it was above water?
PROF KIMURA: This construction has been submerged since 6000 years
ago, because the coralline algae attaching to the wall of this
structure shows 6000 years.
GH: And those coralline algae, because they're organic, you've been
able to carbon date them?
PROF KIMURA: Yes, Carbon-14.
GH: Right. So that tells us the age of that biological item it's
6000 years old and it's attached to a stone structure which,
therefore, must be older than that.
PROF KIMURA: It must be older, and so in general 6000 years ago the
sea level at that time [was lower] So if this was made by men, this
must be when this area was land it's about 9000 or 10,000 years ago.
GH: 9000 or 10,000 years ago? So -- again to clarify, because I need
to get this straight, -- you're saying that 9000 or 10,000 years
ago, the whole area was above water and the date of submergence
would be about 6000 years ago?
PROF KIMURA: Before 6000 years ago.
GH: This is the problem with Carbon 14 isn't it? It dates the
organism, not the structure. So then you can only say that the
structure is older than that, but how much older is not sure. How
much work have you done on sea level change as a dating guide? And
how big a factor is the possibility of sudden maybe recent land
subsidence as a result of earthquake?
PROF KIMURA: Yes, I'm looking for such evidence, that is
evidence, but there is no evidence of movement. If this area had
subsided by movement it would be due to earthquakes and faulting,
but there is no active fault nearby, the fringing coast is
continuous, and between the beach and Iseki Point, there is no
discontinuity or fault.
WOLF: I see.
GH: That makes things fairly clear then. It leaves us with the sea
level issue on its own to base a date on, without complicating
factors, which is great. At least we can be clear on one thing.
WOLF: I think that questions for sea level rise are very fairly
proved by scientific evidence here in the area. I mean, they're
experts in their field.
GH: So you'd have no problem with the 9000 year date?
WOLF: No, no not at all. No, the question was, or is still, is it
and, if yes, to what extent is it made by man or overworked by man?
This is the question.
GH: Well hopefully we'll get a chance to investigate that when we go
PROF KIMURA: We need to research much more.
GH [speaking to Prof Kimura]: I mean you're practically the only
person who's done - you and your team here - have done continuous
research for some years. But almost nobody else is working on it, I
think, at the moment?
PROF KIMURA: Japanese scientists cannot dive.
"A VERY FINE, A
VERY NICE THING"
Throughout our discussion
Professor Kimura strongly maintained his
commitment to the manmade character of Yonaguni's underwater
monuments - not simply on the basis of his technical findings, cited
earlier which I need not repeat here, but also, and I found
"This kind of
topography - if this has been made by nature it is very
difficult to explain the shape."
Wolf's riposte was immediate:
"So what I would
say to that formation is that I've seen many natural
formations, especially coastlines, being worked out by waves
and wind, especially with the help of weapons, erosive
weapons -- sand and so on. Seeing with the eye of a
geologist or a morphologist it is, OK, a very fine, a very
nice thing, but possibly made by nature."
I asked Wolf whether in fact he had every seen anything like the
Yonaguni "formation" anywhere else in the world.
"Not in that exact combination," he replied.
"This is what is surprising me; it's a very strong,
compressed combination of the different shapes and the
different figures you can find naturally in the world
"But you don't usually find them in
combination like this?"
"No, I haven't seen that. So that is a marvel. It is a
very beautiful formation."
"Or the work of human beings? I prompted.
"Or of that. So that's what we're here for."