Devil’s Marbles of Karlu Karlu, are a collection of giant granite boulders strewn across a shallow valley. Devil’s Marbles are recognized by the local Warumungu Aboriginals. It is located almost 100 KM south of Tennant Creek in the Northern Territory, Australia. The Devil’s Marble is one of the most widely considered symbols of Australia’s outback.
The Marbles have great importance for the Aboriginal people. They’re protected under the Northern Territory Aboriginal Sacred Sites Act. In Aboriginal mythology, the Devil’s Marbles are the eggs of the rainbow serpent. Many Dreamtime stories and traditions of the Warumungu, Kaytetye, and Alyawarre Aboriginal folks are linked with this area.
The unique shapes are formed by erosion for more than millions of years. These marbles are made of granite with varying sizes from 50cm to 6m across. Different boulders are naturally precariously balanced atop one another or on a massive rock formation. However, many others have been split cleanly down the middle.
Though they appear to have been prudently placed or may be brought here by flood or glaciers from distant places. These boulders in fact formed on the ground they stand by erosion of rock that reached the surface from below.
The Devil’s Marbles of Karlu Karlu started out, several million years ago, when an upsurge of molten rock penetrated the ground from below. It spread out and settled into a solid layer within the Earth’s crust. Thus, after some time, tectonic forces caused the folding of the Earth’s crust in the area. Which has lifted the granite causing it to fracture into big, square blocks?
The weathering by water and wind rounded off the edges and turned them into smooth boulders that we see today. Moreover the an extreme temperature difference between day and night in the arid desert region. Where the reserve is located creates massive stress on these boulders, causing them to frequently expand and contract. Some of the rocks eventually crack completely in half.
According to one interesting story, “Arrange”, the Devil Man, while walking through the area, made a hair-string belt, a type of traditional adornment, worn only by initiated Aboriginal men. He was twirling the hair to make strings. Then he dropped clusters of hair on the ground which turned into big red boulders. He finally returned to his place of origin, a hill named “Ayleparrarntenhe”, where the legend myths he still lives today.