Klerksdorp spheres are small objects, often spherical to disc-shaped, that have been collected by miners and rockhounds from 3-billion-year-old pyrophyllite deposits mined by Wonderstone Ltd., near Ottosdal, South Africa.
They have been cited by alternative researchers and reporters in books, popular articles, and many web pages, as inexplicable out of place artifacts that could only have been manufactured by intelligent beings.
Geologists who have studied these objects argue that the objects are not manufactured, but are rather the result of natural processes. Roelf Marx, curator of the museum of Klerksdorp, South Africa, where some of the spheres are housed, said:
“The spheres are a complete mystery. They look man-made, yet at the time in Earth’s history when they came to rest in this rock no intelligent life existed. They’re nothing like I have ever seen before.”
According to an article by J. Jimison, the spheres are of two types—”one of solid bluish metal with white flecks, and another which is a hollow ball filled with a white spongy center.”
In a letter dated September 12, 1984 Roelf Marx said: “There is nothing scientific published about the globes, but the facts are: They are found in pyrophyllite, which is mined near the little town of Ottosdal in the Western Transvaal.
“This pyrophyllite is a quite soft secondary mineral with a count of only 3 on the Mohs scale and was formed by sedimentation about 2.8 billion years ago. On the other hand the globes, which have a fibrous structure on the inside with a shell around it, are very hard and cannot be scratched, even by steel.”
The Mohs scale of hardness is named after Friedrich Mohs, who chose ten minerals as references points for comparative hardness, with talc the softest (1) and diamond the hardest (10).
A. Bisschoff, a professor of geology at the University of Potchefstroom, said that the spheres were “limonite concretions.” Limonite is a kind of iron ore. A concretion is a compact, rounded rock mass formed by localized cementation around a nucleus. One problem with the hypothesis that the objects are limonite concretions concerns their hardness.
As noted above, the metallic spheres cannot be scratched with a steel point, indicating they are extremely hard. But standard references on minerals state that limonite registers only 4 to 5.5 on the Mohs scale, indicating a relatively low degree of hardness.
Furthermore, limonite concretions usually occur in groups, like masses of soap bubbles stuck together. They do not, it seems, normally appear isolated and perfectly round, as is the case with the objects in question. Neither do they normally appear with parallel grooves encircling them.
All of the specimens of these objects, which were cut open by Heinrich, exhibited an extremely well-defined radial structure terminating on either the center or centers of a Klerksdorp sphere.
Through petrographic and X-Ray diffraction analyses of specimens of these objects Heinrich found that they consist either of hematite (Fe2O3) or wollastonite (CaSiO3) mixed with minor amounts of hematite and goethite (FeOOH).
Observations by Cairncross and Nel and others indicated that many of the Klerksdorp spheres found in unaltered pyrophyllite consist of pyrite (FeS2). The color of the specimens studied by Heinrich ranged from dark reddish brown, red, to dusky red. The color of those objects composed of pyrite is not known.
For the purposes of this study, it is the sphere with three parallel grooves around its equator that most concerns us. Even if it is conceded that the sphere itself is a limonite concretion, one still must account for the three parallel grooves.
In the absence of a satisfactory natural explanation, the evidence is somewhat mysterious, leaving open the possibility that the South African grooved sphere—found in a mineral deposit 2.8 billion years old—was made by an intelligent being.