Iron balls found in desert

I have posted a pic and description of an odd phenomenon and I wonder if anyone has suggestions as to how the described item was formed . . . man-made, natural or cosmological? And no, this is NOT a hoax -- the picture is real and the description is as accurate and honest as I can make it. For a look at it, go to

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It may be nothing more than something dumped on the location by someone involved in iron or steel production, but it's more than a little strange. The fellow who found these things collected six or seven of them, but many times that were lying in situ, scattered (not piled), but reasonably close together within perhaps fifty square yards (five yards by ten perhaps, or longer but narrower?). The one pictured does NOT look like a casting, although the texture might be similar to a good quality casting. I had wondered whether they might perhaps have been billets used in a forging operation of some past day . . . except they were all different sizes. Doesn't seem AT ALL likely that such could have been projectiles like lava bombs which fell into a primal sea and cooled quickly, forming nicely smooth iron "drops" before they hit bottom -- but that's one idea, anyway. I'm trying to convince the owner to take it to a university geology deparment to have it sawed in half with their diamond saw. I'd like to see if there is any kind of internal structure, crystaline, layer or otherwise.

Anybody have a suggestion?


Reply to
Mark 'Sporky' Stapleton
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A wild guess would be that these are grinding balls left over from a ball mill used to process ore from a mine. Typical balls would be plain carbon or chromium steels, through hardened to the same 58 - 63 Rockwell C that would be employed in ball bearings.

See for example

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Pittsburgh Pete


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Grinding balls - mashing ones sounds logical - there was / is a lot of mining in that state and might simply be something that fell off the wagon, or dumped along the way. Maybe hand carried from up a mountain or hill and left.

There are other obvious concepts - cannon balls. There was a very high level of cowboy and Indians done in that state like most of the West and large sections of the East.

I know I have several cannon ones - hole in a side that allows a powder charge to be placed - exploding overhead...

I doubt a clean round ball is volcanic - they typically had pock marks on the. Iron globules were a function - but not often in bombs of a explosion.

Lava bombs occur in todays time space, not prime evil period. Early on yes more as the continents were being built and ripped apart.

The mountain that was 'long island' in New York was taller than the Alps - lots of action - coming up and going down.

There are many volcanoes in New Mexico (and Texas for that much) (5 in the city limits of Austin).

The ones in south western New Mexico - west of the triangle area - is glassy.


Martin Eastburn @ home at Lions' Lair with our computer lionslair at consolidated dot net NRA LOH, NRA Life NRA Second Amendment Task Force Charter Founder wrote:

Reply to
Martin H. Eastburn

Grinding balls from a ball mill was mentioned in another newsgroup (sci.geo.geology) and it sounds like the best hypothesis I've heard (or imagined) so far. One fellow was even astute enough to point out that with the right kind of turning frequency the balls could easily obtain a slightly flattened geometry as they slide across the material being ground (instead of remaining spherical). I think this explanation is quite plausible -- most likely true. Thanks for the reply.

Mark 'Sporky' Staplet> "Sporky":

Reply to
Mark 'Sporky' Stapleton

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