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Mystery of the Ringing Rocks

By William C. Richardson



LTHOUGH long known in The "gardens" are considered by some a general way that Penn- to have resulted from volcanic eruption sylvania contains the in the far distant ages which upturned greatest wonders in mu- these stones of feldspar • formation and sical rocks of any state in left them heaped in weird, fantastic

the Union it is only re- forms, making most desolate looking cently that geological researches have at- patches amid the verdant fields; for, altracted widespread and renewed atten- though surrounded by heavy timber and tion to the curious mystery of these stony cultivated farm land, not a tree or shrub formations in Bucks and Montgomery can be found within the "gardens" and counties. The “Ringing Rocks'

no soil can be seen between the crevices Pottstown have been visited the past few of the great stones. months by many eminent geologists in When struck by a hammer the rocks, an endeavor to explain the peculiar prop- as they lie in their beds, produce four erties which cause the rocks to give off distinct tones, running upward from musical sounds when struck.

middle D on the piano, but it remained The largest of the "stony gardens," as for the late William J. Buck, for many they are known locally, is at Nocka- years historian of Bucks County, to conmixon, in Bucks County, where there are ceive of the idea of their possibilities as three fields of these rocks, all near the producers of melody and for Dr. J J. Ott, foot of Haycock Mountain, 620 feet of Pleasant Valley, to carry out the projabove sea level. The largest of the fields ect. The latter selected a number of covers an area a quarter of a mile in rocks, some of them weighing over 200 length, with an average width of some pounds, which he carefully tuned by chip200 feet, while each of the other fields ping until he had a complete octave, from covers about an acre and a quarter. which he entertained friends by playing several familiar tunes, on one occasion groups of "ringing rocks" seem to be being accompanied by a band. The clear, composed, comprises a series of parallel ringing tones of the rocks could plainly elevations, attaining in Haycock and be heard above the notes of the horns. Rockhill townships mountainous propor

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About a mile and a half from Bridge- tions. This belt of rock, beginning near ton, Pennsylvania, is another deposit of Bridgeton, extends down through Bucks the mysterious rocks. While the field is County and into the .counties of Montnot so large as those in Bucks County gomery, and Chester, but only in three and the rocks do not give out tones so places do the rocks crop out in such clear, the situation is much more pictur- formations that the loose fragments proesque, Covering an area of about four duce the musical sounds. acres, perfectly barren of vegetation, the The Montgomery County rocks, near land presents an aspect of strange deso Pottstown, are the largest of any prolation and yet of grand subliminty, as one ducing the musical sounds. It is estigazes upon the mighty boulders, appar- mated that many of them weigh from ently piled upon the spot by some gigan- five to twenty-five tons each, and between tic prehistoric hand.

them are seen apertures fifty of more feet It requires a hard climb to reach the in depth. Among them are three which rocks and visitors are greeted along the bear impressions closely resembling way by many cheering inscriptions placed tracks of the human foot, but only from there by earlier tourists, some of them three to six inches in length. Upon referring to the probable origin of the others are what look like tracks of horses, barren spot as having been due to a visit elephants and camels, but all of them of His Santanic Majesty himself. The of diminished sizes. These marks puzzle story goes that in stalking about the earth geologists, who are loath to believe that before departing for his present abode the region surrounding the rocks was the Devil, in stepping across the Dela- once inhabited by animals like those of ware River, broke his apron strings and the present day, but smaller. But the sat down to repair them, forever blight- marks are there and, like the ringing ing the spot for any utility to man. rocks themselves, they await definite ex

The hard trap rock, of which all the planation.


Chaining the Current hence it is short work to cut the withes

and bring them to the barges. Here they STEMMING the foods that tear away are woven into bundles or fascines, each

its banks and levees, is a government about twelve inches in diameter. The enterprise carried on almost continually first illustration shows the workmen busy along the Mississippi River. On barges wiring the fascines into a vast mattress. provided for the purpose, great mat- When this has been accomplished, the tresses of willow are woven as withes mattress is laid on the water and sunk of this flexible but tough tree are found by means of stones. to serve excellently against the erosive The Chinese also have their problem of action of the current.

stemming the current of the great rivers The bank to be safe-guarded is first of their country. The method of doing cleared of timber and underbrush. for a the work in that empire is herewith

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