Boulder Definition is the scientific term for a single, irregularly shaped rock that has a large impact on Earth. In the geological world, a boulder is simply a rock fragment greater than 256 meters in height. Smaller pieces are known as pebbles and smaller pieces are known as cobbles. However, some boulders are larger, such as those found on Easter Island.
Some can be walked on, but generally cannot be driven over or rolled on. The boulder’s surface is usually rough, indicating that it rolled or fell down. As it rolls downhill, it leaves rough edges that define the contours of the stone. When the boulder lands on its surface, some of the rocks curl back into the softer rock below, while others remain upright. A small piece of unstable soil near the boulder’s base may also be pushed aside, leaving a depression in the floor of the boulder.
The simplest explanation for why the boulder rolls are that it meets an obstacle in its path. It might be a river or other water body, or a mountain range, or other terrain feature. When the boulder moves over this obstacle, it puts pressure on the surface of the stone. As it continues to roll, the pressure forces the boulder to dip and slide, causing it to grow larger. This is how some mountains are formed.
The other explanation for how a boulder grows is that it meets itself. As it rolls, it comes into contact with other rocks, increasing its weight and essentially forcing it to roll over. If the surrounding area is mountainous, the impact will cause the boulder to be pushed down, creating a depression where the rock meets the ground. Other times, the boulder may simply roll down hills, gaining momentum as it goes.
Bouldering involves the art of driving a vehicle into a depression on the ground or striking an obstacle in the air and landing in that depression. Because the boulder is usually traveling at thousands of miles per hour, it can cause severe damage to anything in its path. It also requires great maneuverability and strength. Bouldering is considered an art more than a sport. Some people enjoy the challenge of trying to land their vehicle in a difficult spot, while others just enjoy going bouldering as a recreational activity.
A Much Ado
Landforms are very common in the United States, as well as all over the world. In fact, according to the USGS, there are more than 7 billion landforms in the US. A landform is any distinct landscape feature on or in close proximity to a planet or Moon. For instance, you would not classify the Grand Canyon as a landlord, because it is not a geological formation. Similarly, because it is on the surface of the Moon, it is not a defining feature.
The Boulder definition is an easy one. It is very difficult to describe a geological formation without being able to actually see it. This is why no one except professionals should be allowed to determine the elevations and boundaries of boulders. In this way, if an area has too many new or old boulder-like structures, it may seem like an active geologist is visiting the scene, trying to find a fault line or other important structure that cannot be seen from the ground.
There are still some members of the International Association of Lithologists who want a separate Boulder Definition for their group. This way, they can have a more standard way of classifying mountains and other landscape features. Unfortunately, this is likely to remain a definition that is used throughout the geologic world. In short, no one can really agree on what a mountain is or what constitutes a boulder. That being said, it is fun to look at them when you are driving across the nation or taking a hike in your backyard.