kids encyclopedia robot

Monolith facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts
Uluru, helicopter view, cropped
Uluru, Northern Territory, Australia, is often referred to as the biggest monolith, but that is generally avoided by geologists. While the surrounding rocks were eroded, the rock survived as sandstone strata making up the surviving Uluru 'monolith'.
Monolithos 1
Monolithos fortress on Rhodes, Greece
Brand hires trimmed
Landsat 7 image Brandberg Mountain, Namibia
Gavea Rock, a monolith next to the sea, near Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

A monolith is a geological feature consisting of a single massive stone or rock, such as some mountains, or a single large piece of rock placed as, or within, a monument or building. Erosion usually exposes the geological formations, which are often made of very hard and solid igneous or metamorphic rock.

In architecture, the term has considerable overlap with megalith, which is normally used for prehistory, and may be used in the contexts of rock-cut architecture that remains attached to solid rock, as in monolithic church, or for exceptionally large stones such as obelisks, statues, monolithic columns or large architraves, that may have been moved a considerable distance after quarrying. It may also be used of large glacial erratics moved by natural forces.

The word derives, via the Latin monolithus, from the Ancient Greek word μονόλιθος (monolithos), from μόνος ("one" or "single") and λίθος ("stone").

Geological monoliths

Large, well-known monoliths include:


  • Aso Rock, Nigeria
  • Ben Amera, Mauritania
  • Brandberg Mountain, Namibia
  • Sibebe, Swaziland
  • Zuma Rock, Nigeria
  • Mount Lubiri, Angola
  • Mount Poi, Kenya
  • Great Sphinx of Giza


  • Scullin monolith


Savandurga, India, from the northern side
Sangla Hill, Pakistan



Peñon de Ifach-2009
Penyal d'Ifac, Spain

North America

United States

Beacon rock
Beacon Rock, Washington, viewed from the west
El Capitan in 2010
El Capitan in Yosemite
  • Angels Landing, Zion National Park, Utah
  • Beacon Rock, Columbia River Gorge, Washington
  • Bottleneck Peak and Moon, Sids Mountain, Utah
  • Castle Rock, Pineville, West Virginia
  • Chimney Rock, Bayard, Nebraska
  • Chimney Rock, Chimney Rock, North Carolina
  • Courthouse and Jail Rocks, Bridgeport, Nebraska
  • Devils Tower, Wyoming
  • El Capitan, Yosemite National Park, California
  • Enchanted Rock, Llano County, Texas
  • Frog Woman Rock, Mendocino County, California
  • Great White Throne, Zion National Park, Utah
  • Half Dome, Yosemite National Park, California
  • Haystack Rock, Clatsop County, Oregon
  • Looking Glass Rock, Transylvania County, North Carolina
  • Morro Rock, Morro Bay, California
  • Scotts Bluff National Monument, Gering, Nebraska
  • Shiprock, San Juan County, New Mexico
  • Stone Mountain, Stone Mountain, Georgia
  • Tooth of Time, Cimarron, New Mexico
  • Wolf Rock, Linn County, Oregon
Stawamus sharp
Stawamus Chief as seen from Valleycliffe neighborhood in Squamish, British Columbia


  • Stawamus Chief, Squamish, British Columbia


  • La Peña de Bernal, Queretaro; claimed to be the world's third largest monolith.

South America

El Peñón, monolith in Colombia, located in Antioquia
  • El Peñón, also known as El Peñol Stone or simply La Piedra, Colombia
  • Pão de Açúcar, Brazil
  • Pedra da Gávea, Brazil the world's largest monolith on the coastline
  • Pedra da Galinha Choca, Brazil
  • Torres del Paine, Chile


  • Phobos monolith on Phobos
  • Mars monolith

Monumental monoliths

A structure which has been excavated as a unit from a surrounding matrix or outcropping of rock.

  • Aztec calendar stone "Stone of the Sun"
  • The Church of Saint George in Lalibela, Ethiopia, is one of a number of monolithic churches in Ethiopia
  • Coyolxauhqui Stone another aztec monolith
  • Ellora Caves - UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • Great Sphinx of Giza "The Egyptian Sphinx"
  • Gomateswara or Lord Bahubali at Sravanabelagola, Karnataka
  • Manzanar National Historic Landmark, USA
  • Obelisks - see this article for a list
  • Ogham stones, inscribed standing stones throughout Ireland
  • Runestones
  • Standing stones
  • Stelae
  • Stone circle
  • Stone of the Pregnant Woman, Baalbek
  • Stonehenge contains several
  • The Longstones or the Devil's Quoits, Avebury, Wiltshire, England
  • Vijayanagara Empire medieval South Indian carved examples
kids search engine
Monolith Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.