In a verdant river canyon outside of Portland, Oregon lies a hidden secret—a swimming hole loved by locals and known by a wide variety of names: Owl’s Eye, Sundial Rock, Molalla Eye, The Sunburst, and more. In this video, a hiker in Oregon comes across this spectacular rock formation and claims that has brought him to tears with its unexpected beauty. In the clip, he talks about how he has no idea ow a thing like this could possibly naturally form. In the comments, he claims he felt a great spiritual energy emanating from this site.
In truth, the feeling he describes is known, philosophically, as “the sublime” and has long been defined as a feeling of overwhelming grandeur or vastness as an object of beauty (such as nature or art). And as for the Molalla Eye? It’s a spiral basalt formation often known as a rosette. Read on to find out how this one originally formed.
This area of Oregon is known for its volcanic flows, and the history of these lava flows can be read in the rocks all over the region. The formation in question is what is called a spiral columnar basalt formation. The lava that formed this basalt flowed out in a spiral formation, and the basalt columns “grew” and crystalized from this lava. Similar basalt formations such as Devil’s Tower in Wyoming and Giant’s Causeway in Ireland are similar in type and origin.
Later, the river (or, more likely, the glaciers that carved this canyon) cut through whatever rock might have developed over this flow, revealing this sublime formation.