I am at a loss for the precise, correct terminology, but I have read in Wikipedia that Uluru is not a monolith, but Savandurga is, and that I probably shouldn't be using the word monolith to begin with, but instead use inselberg.

I was once told that Uluru is a giant rock, just sitting in the soil. I think this is probably impossible and that it is part of the underlying bedrock of the area, but is that the case for all/most inselbergs? Are they identified primarily by how isolated they appear above ground only?

below: Savandurga (India) from here. See more photos at Savandurga - A Hill composed entirely of only one rock.

enter image description here

below: Uluru (Australia) from here.

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1 Answer 1


the trick is not all isolated rocks are produced the same ways. Of the two in your pictures the first is an old volcanic events; intrusions, dikes, ect. depending on which rock in the region you are talking about. The whole deccan plateau region is full of them, some have been exposed on the surface via erosion. Basically everything else eroded faster than they did leaving them sticking out. enter image description here

The second was produced by the same effect (eroding slower than the rock around it) but this time it was just a hard massive sandstone formation surrounded by more easily eroded rock. It is part of the bedrock.


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    $\begingroup$ Very nice explanation, thank you! I learned more than I expected. The cross-section from Australia is really striking - wow, what a strange looking place! (From here.) Is it possible to give credit to the sources or owners of the images somehow, a link or at least a mention, thanks! $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Apr 3, 2017 at 18:39
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    $\begingroup$ Google Earth. $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Apr 3, 2017 at 18:45
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    $\begingroup$ The first I got from uluru-katatjuta-information-page.weebly.com. I actually can't remember where i got the first and I have not been able to find it again so if anyone knows please add it in the comments. $\endgroup$
    – John
    Apr 4, 2017 at 1:21
  • $\begingroup$ in latin monolith is monolithus it means one stone. $\endgroup$ Jan 5, 2018 at 9:53

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