World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Pedra da Gávea

Pedra da Gávea
The mountain of Pedra da Gávea.
Elevation 844 m (2,769 ft)
Pedra da Gávea is located in Brazil
Pedra da Gávea
Tijuca Forest, Barra da Tijuca, Rio de Janeiro
Range Tijuca
Coordinates [1]

Pedra da Gávea is a [3]

The mountain's name translates as Rock of the Topsail, and was given to it during the expedition of Captain Gaspar de Lemos, begun in 1501, and in which the Rio de Janeiro bay (today Guanabara Bay, but after which the city was named) also received its name. The mountain, the first in Brazil to be named in Portuguese, was named by the expedition's sailors, who compared its silhouette to that of the shape of a topsail of a carrack upon sighting it on January 1, 1502. That name in turn came to be given to the Gávea area of the city of Rio de Janeiro.[4]

Differential weathering on one side of the rock has created what is described as a stylized human face. Markings on another face of the rock have been described as an inscription. Geologists and scientists are nearly in agreement that the "inscription" is the result of erosion and that the "face" is a product of pareidolia. Furthermore, the consensus of archaeologists and scholars in Brazil is that the mountain should not be viewed as an archaeological site.


  • Geology and ecology 1
  • Archaeological interest 2
  • See also 3
  • References 4
  • Bibliography 5

Geology and ecology

Stone of Gávea at dawn

Located in the Tijuca Range,[5] Pedra da Gávea is 842 m (2,762 ft) tall, and is a [3] The flat top of the mountain is capped with a 150 m tall layer of granite, whereas underneath, the mound is made up of gneiss.[6][7] The former dates to around 450 million years ago, whereas the latter dates to 600 million years.[5] The mountain, much like other stone outcroppings in and around the area, is the result of younger Neoproterozoic granitoid rocks and thin Cretaceous diabase dikes intruding the older Meso-Neoproterozoic high-grade metasedimentary rocks.[8]

The contact zone between the upper granite and the lower gneiss is both sub-horizontal and semi-gradual, and the gneissic xenoliths have a tabular form, which heavily suggests that they were captured from a magma chamber’s floor by thermal detachment. It has been suggested that Pedra da Gávea "correspond[s] to the bottom of a granitic magma chamber and the original thickness of the granitic body was much larger than the present exposure."[9] The granitic body of the Pedra da Gávea could also correspond to the eastern extension of the nearby Pedra Branca Granite Massif, according to Akihisa Motoki et al.[9]

Differential weathering incised the northern side of the mountain, producing cavities underneath the granite dome.[2][10] The abrupt dome itself is the result of the more durable granite having resisted the aforementioned weathering more so than the softer gneiss.[2] Furthermore, erosion has worn etches into the mountain's sides.[11][12][13]

The mountain is covered in lemon, orange, breadfruit, banana, and papaya trees, as well as cannas and roses.[13]

Archaeological interest

There is a purported inscription carved into the rockface, which some claim to be in Phoenician, a Semitic language known to modern scholars only from inscriptions. According to Paul Herrmann in his book Conquests by Man, the inscription on the mountain had been known for quite some time, but had merely been attributed to "some unknown prehistoric American people".[14] Closer examination, however, led some researchers to believe it was of Phoenician origin.[14] Today, however, most researchers suggest that the inscription and "face" are merely the results of erosion.[11][12][15] In the mid-1950s, the Brazilian Ministry of Education and Health denied that the site featured any writing, declaring "that examination by geologists had proved it to be nothing more than the effect of weather erosion which happened to look like an inscription."[16] Brazilian archaeologists and scholars have adopted a negative attitude toward the treatment of the site, with Herrmann noting that "Brazilian archaeology denies altogether the existence of Phoenician inscription in any part of the country whatsoever."[16]

See also


  1. ^ "Padre de Gavea – São Conrado, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil".  
  2. ^ a b c de Menezes Medina, Antonio Ivo; Shinzato, Edgar. "Pedra da Gávea" (in Portuguese). Geological Survey of Brazil (Companhia de Pesquisa de Recursos Minerais). Retrieved 2013-10-23. 
  3. ^ a b "Pedra da Gávea". Retrieved September 10, 2013. 
  4. ^ "Pedra da Gávea e a mística Cabeça do Imperador". Montanhas do Rio (in Portuguese). 2004. Retrieved 2013-10-23. 
  5. ^ a b Jones, Fred (1973). "Landslides of Rio de Janeiro and the Serra das Araras Escarpment, Brazil". Geological Survey Professional Paper ( 
  6. ^ Migoń (2010), p. 93.
  7. ^ Twidale (1982), p. 74.
  8. ^ Migoń (2010), p. 92.
  9. ^ a b Motoki, Akihisa; et al. (2005). "Contato Intrusivo na Base do Corpo Granítico da Pedra da Gávea, Parque Nacional da Tijuca, Rio de Janeiro".  
  10. ^ Migoń (2010), p. 94.
  11. ^ a b Barbosa, Januário da Cunha; Porto Alegre, Manuel de Araújo (1839). "Relatório Sobre a Inscrição da Gávea". RIHGB (  Note: To find the article, one must search for the term "Gávea".
  12. ^ a b Turin (2005), p. 103.
  13. ^ a b Clark, T. Cooper (1922). "The XXth International Congress of Americanists". The Pan-American Magazine and New World Review ( 
  14. ^ a b Herrmann (1954), p. 212.
  15. ^ Waggoner (2008), pp. 1–650.
  16. ^ a b Herrmann (1954), p. 214.


  • Fanthorpe, Lionel; Patricia Fanthorpe (2004). Unsolved Mysteries of the Sea.  
  • Glover, Mark, ed. (1977). The Mormon Church in Latin America: A Periodical Index (1830–1976).  
  • Herrmann, Paul (1954). Conquest by Man. Translated by Michael Bullock.  
  • Josephus, Flavius (1810). The Genuine Works of Flavius Josephus. Translated by William Whiston.  
  • Marx, Robert (2004). Treasure Lost at Sea: Diving to the World's Great Shipwrecks. Firefly Books.  
  • Migoń, Piotr, ed. (2010). Geomorphological Landscapes of the World.  
  • Ramos, Bernardo de Azevedo da Silva (1930). "Chapter XIV". Tradiçoes da America Pré-Histórica, Especialmente do Brasil Vol. I (in Portuguese). Imprensa Nacional. 
  • Turin, Rodrigo (2005). "A 'Obscura História' Indígena. O discurso Etnográfico no IHGB (1840–1870)". Estudos Sobre a Escrita da História: Anais do Encontro de Historiografia e História Política (in Portuguese). 7Letras.  
  • Twidale, C. R. (1982). Granite Landforms.  
  • Waggoner, John (2008). Brazil Travel Adventures. Hunter Publishing.  
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.