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Monolith facts for kids

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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'.
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Monolithos fortress on Rhodes, Greece
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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
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Stawamus Chief as seen from Valleycliffe neighborhood in 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.

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Monolith Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.