A group of mathematicians has recreated the environmental conditions that existed in Giza 4,500 years ago to try to answer one of the great enigmas that surround the Egyptian civilization, how the city was built. Great Sphinxone of the most characteristic and visited monuments of Egypt.
In the experiment, scientists have used mounds of soft clay with a harder and less erodible material inside to try to reproduce the material in which the sphinx is sculpted, something that in nature is called yardang. Once this was done, they subjected the structure to the force of a water tunnel to simulate the erosion caused by the wind and the result was the shape of a sphinx.
Thus, Leif Ristrophone of the professors participating in the study, has stated that the origin of one of the most emblematic monuments of antiquity may be natural, even though humans later finished shaping it.
“Our findings offer a possible origin story for how Great Sphinx-type formations can arise from erosion. Our laboratory experiments have shown that strikingly sphinx-like shapes may, in fact, come from materials eroded by rapid flows,” he stated.
“Our results provide a simple theory for how Great Sphinx-type formations can arise from erosion. Today there are yardangs that look like sitting or lying animals; this supports our conclusions. This work may also be useful for researchers. geologists as it reveals factors that affect rock formations, that is, that they are not homogeneous or uniform in their composition. Unexpected shapes arise from how flows are diverted towards the hardest or least erodible parts,” explains Ristroph.