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May 9 2013
Rising 1,421 feet (433 meters) above the North-Central Mexican state of Querétaro, Peña de Bernal Natural Monument is the tallest freestanding rock in the world.
The monolith — a large geologic feature made up of a single massive stone — marks the entrance to the Sierra Gorda, a mountainous area that the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization declared a Biosphere Reserve in 2001. More recently, in 2009, the rock itself was named an Intangible Cultural Heritage site by UNESCO. Yet, despite all its accolades, Peña de Bernal has largely remained a mystery to geologists; uncertainties surround its origin, its age, even its composition.
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