From the Guadalajara Reporter:
Jalisco's unique 'round stones' receive cash boost
Written by Tom Marshall
Saturday, 15 November 2008
JALISCO - The famous “round stones” (piedras bolas) of Ahualulco del Mercado were once an exclusive port of call for explorers well-versed in the art of tracking down poorly promoted but fascinating sites of interest in provincial Jalisco.
More than 150 balls of rock that are almost perfectly spherical are spread throughout a forest in the Ameca Valley.Now thanks to the injection of ten million pesos over the past two years, the site is more accessible than ever to tourists and daytrippers.
The piedras bolas comprise of around 150 strange balls of rock that are almost perfectly spherical and spread throughout a forest in the Ameca Valley.
“These symmetrical boulders are unusually large. Nothing quite like them exists elsewhere in Mexico, or, according to current scientific opinion, anywhere else in the world,” writes Tony Burton in his excellent tome, “Western Mexico: A Traveller’s Treasury.”
Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania believe the boulders are 25 to 30 million years old. There has traditionally been a lot of mystery about how they were formed. People used to think giants built them or they were somehow man-made, but more conventional theory suggests they were created during a volcanic eruption in the Tertiary geological era.
The uniqueness of the site has spurred the Jalisco Secretariat of Culture to invest seven million pesos in 2007 and three million so far this year in the area’s infrastructure. The money has been spent on new paths that provide excellent views of the flora in the area, a camping zone, three cycle routes of varying difficultly and a pair of new of suspension bridges.
The aim is to improve and expand tourism in the area, as well as protect the boulders, scientifically known as megaspherulites.
The piedras bolas are located 14 kilometers south of the town of Ahualulco de Mercado, around 70 kilometers west of Guadalajara.