The ocean is a pretty weird place. It’s a massive swath of our Earth that we haven’t fully explored, although we do know that it’s filled with mountains and trenches and volcanoes and monster-like sea beasts hiding in the deepest darkest depths of the waters. Then, there’s Bowling Ball Beach…

Mendocino’s Schooner Gulch State Beach is home to an ocean phenomenon that’s about as unsettling as your average episode of Spongebob Squarepants. Almost perfectly spherical rocks crowd the shoreline, earning it the nickname “Bowling Ball Beach”. And while they look like they might be alien eggs, the explanation is, of course, more simple than that.

via Wikimedia Commons

They’re the result of a geological process known as “concretion”. Natural mineral concrete binds sedimentary rock made of sand and stone together, and then erosion from ocean waves wears away the weaker rock, exposing the round boulders. The phenomenon is rare, but not unheard of; New Zeland’s Moeraki Boulders and Koutu Boulders were formed the same way.

via Wikimedia Commons

Now, I, personally couldn’t find any evidence from anyone who claimed to think that these rocks are alien in nature. Even delving into the sketchiest corners of the internet, I couldn’t find a single crackpot theory. Not even a blog post about them being fossilized dinosaur eggs or anything. I did, however, find a ghost story about the beach, and how it got its name.

via Flickr/John Fowler

Legend has it that Schooner Gulch got its name from a story in which a schooner was sighted, one evening, stranded on the beach in the mouth of the gulch, yet in the morning showed no evidence of being there. -California Department of Parks and Recreation

via Flickr/Jitze Couperus

Ghosts are a lot easier to handle than aliens, anyways. If you want to catch a glimpse of the bowling ball boulders, make a point to visit at low tide. If you’re hoping to spy the ghost ship, then aim to visit at night.



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