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A monolith is a geological or technological feature such as a mountain, consisting of a single massive stone or rock. Erosion usually exposes these formations, which are most often made of very hard and solid metamorphic rock.

The word derives from the Latin word monolithus from the Greek word μονόλιϑος (monolithos), derived from μόνος ("one" or "lonely") and λίϑος ("stone").

Image:Mount Augustus by Jan Van Der Hoeven.jpg
Mount Augustus is currently the largest monolith on Earth.


Geological monoliths

The three largest on Earth are currently:

  1. Mount Augustus, in Western Australia [1]
  2. La Peña de Bernal, in Mexico
  3. Stone Mountain, in Stone Mountain Park, Stone Mountain, a suburb of Atlanta, Georgia, USA

Note: For many years, Uluru/Ayers Rock was listed in record books as the world's largest monolith. This is wrong on two counts. Uluru is not a monolith at all, but even if it were, Mt Augustus is about 2.5 times its size.

Others include:

North America





South America


Many of these have legends attached.

Artificial monoliths

Popular culture

The best-known cultural reference is to the Monolith from the Space Odyssey science fiction series by Arthur C. Clarke and Stanley Kubrick. In the series, the Monoliths are black ebon and transparent oblong slabs, fitting exactly into the ratio 1:4:9 (9 height, 4 width and 1 depth). They form part of a Solar-System-wide computer network planted by an alien civilization to monitor an experiment which culminated in humanity.

See also

eo:Monolito fr:Monolithe he:מונולית id:Monolit lb:Monolith nl:Monoliet ja:モノリス pl:Monolit sv:Monolit tr:Monolit

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