Little Bits of History

February 29

Posted in History by patriciahysell on February 28, 2017

1912: Piedra Movediza falls. Tandil lies in the southeast portion of Buenos Aires Province, Argentina. The town was founded in 1823 and today, almost 111,000 people live there. The name comes from a Mapuche word, the Mapuche being the indigenous inhabitants of south-central Chile and southwestern Argentina. Their word for falling, tan, and their word for rock, lil, are placed together to form the name of the town and the surrounding hills.

Piedra Movediza, “Moving Stone” was a local attraction. The 300 ton rock was precariously balanced on the edge of hill. It was said to slowly, imperceptibly move back and forth. While it was impossible to detect any motion with the naked eye, people would come to the site and place a glass object, usually a bottle, under the fulcrum of the rock only to find it shattered later in the day. The rock was such an important part of the local history, it remains as part of the town’s flag to this day.

No one really knows exactly what happened on this day as there were no witnesses to the event. There is speculation that vandals were present. There is a possibility that all the broken glass may have played a roll. Some say that quarry workers were tired of the people coming to look at the rock and they may have destroyed it in order to rid them of the tourists. And there is the possibility that explosions at the quarry may have cause enough vibration to actually tip the balance. Whatever the reason, the rock fell at some time between 5 and 6 PM. It crashed to the bottom of the hill and split into two pieces.

Some efforts were made to replace the rock. In May 2007, engineering students created a replica rock and placed it in the same spot. They were unable to actually recreate the mysterious moving rock and had to cement their replacement into place so it does not rock back and forth. There are other balanced rock in the area, such as El Centinela. These formations, while interesting and unusual, do not have the teetering effect known at Piedra Movediza.

If you are in the country, you should notice landmarks – that is, objects which help you to find your way or prevent you getting lost, such as distant hills, church towers, and nearer objects, such as peculiar buildings, trees, gates, rocks, etc. – Robert Baden-Powell

Geologists have a saying – rocks remember. – Neil Armstrong

We humans are here because nothing can be perfect. There always have to be some living things that are unsatisfied, itchy, trying too hard. If it was all just animals and rocks and lettuce, the gods wouldn’t feel like they had enough to do. – Miranda July

Rocks and waters, etc., are words of God, and so are men. We all flow from one fountain Soul. All are expressions of one Love. – John Muir

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