Mar 31, 2010

"What Is...? Wednesday

Singing bowls And Mysterious Ringing Rocks

Historians believe that metal working artisans perfected the techniques for making Tibetan Singing Bowls nearly 2,500 years ago,although there is not a lot of written history to trace the origin of these wonderful objects of art, fortunately, there is a rich tradition of oral history that tells us that the bowls came to Tibet from India at the same time that Buddhism was introduced to Tibet by the great Buddhist master, Padmasambhava.Therefore, one might say that the history of Tibetan Singing Bowls goes back to at least the 8th century A.D.

Why are they called singing bowls and what exactly makes them sing? To put it simply, because they sing by running a special wooden mallet along the rim of the bowl lightly, therefore causing it to "sing".Striking the side of the bowl will also produce sound, much like ringing a bell.

The vibration of the bowl produces a distinct sound in the much the same way that a crystal goblet would if you ran a wet finger around the glass.The pitch depends on the size of the bowl and the thickness of the metal.Bowls typically range in size from five inches to thirteen inches in diameter.You can increase or decrease the sounds by rotating the mallet around the outside of the bowl faster.

The singing quality is an important part of the Tibetan Singing Bowl's Buddhism, and in Hinduism, sound is an important part of spiritual practice.In the Buddhist doctrine, there are nine methods of realization of reaching enlightenment.The seventh way was sound.For this reason, the sound produced by the bowl was used by Buddhist practitioners as part of their

Now, on to the Ringing Rocks.....

Ringing Rocks Park is a 128 acre park nestled in the woods in Buck's County Pennsylvania. The park is a field of boulders, about 7-8 acres in size, that have an unusual property. When the rocks are struck with a hammer or another rock, they sound as if they are metal and hollow and ring with a sound similar to a metal pipe being struck. 

Curiously, though made up of the same materials, not all of the Ringing Rocks ring...only about 30 percent of them, according to those who have experimented with them.Though this is undoubtedly a natural phenomenon, it is an odd one for which no fully satisfactory explanation has ever been proposed. 

In 1965 geologist Richard Faas of Lafayette College, Easton, Pennsylvania, conducted laboratory experiments using sensitive equipment. He learned that when he struck a ringing rock, a series of subaudible frequencies were produced, and these added up to a tone that could be heard by the human ear. He could not, however, determine a specific physical cause.

Some have asserted supernatural claims for the rocks and the field in which they are found. They note that little vegetation and animal life (including insects) inhabit the area. This is not surprising, though, as the boulder field, which is some ten feet thick and seven acres in size, is hotter than the surrounding forest and provides little food or shelter.

 Claims have been made that compasses don't work there, but attempts to see if the area has any unusual properties, beyond the rocks themselves, such as high background radiation, abnormal magnetic fields, or strange electromagnetic activity, have yielded nothing.

The phenomenon of ringing rocks is not limited to Pennsylvania. They have been found all over the world. Interesting enough, though, ringing rocks at other locations are often composed of different materials. What physical characteristics they have in common with those in Pennsylvania that might explain the ringing is still unknown to geologists to this day, so..... the mystery continues.

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Wendilea said...

Thank you for that interesting post! I plan to visit the Ringing Rocks Park in PA, as I live close enough and yet I've never heard of it before.

Ascension said...

Que historia mas interesante, quizas he perdido algun detalle al tener que traducir.
Seguramente en España, haya algunas rocas asi...quizas en Las Palmas de Gran se....lo intentare averiguar, si me entero de algo te lo comento.
besitos ascension