There’s an island in the middle of the ocean that is part of an ancient sunken content and is home to an animal found nowhere else in the world.
Ball’s Pyramid is a giant natural stone pyramid that rises 1,844 feet from sea level. Sitting 12 miles off the southeast of Lord Howe Island in the Pacific, it was formed an estimated 6.4 million years ago as a result of a shield volcano eruption.
The monolithic natural pyramid was named after Henry Lidgbird Ball, a Royal Navy Lieutenant who discovered the island pyramid in 1788.
While the pyramid was made from a shield volcano now under the Pacific, it is actually part of the lost sunken continent of Zealandia. This continent is a rather large mass of continental crust that is believed to have separated from Australia roughly 60 million years ago and eventually sunk below sea level.
After it’s discovery, Ball was unable to go ashore, and no man made the journey until Henry Wilkinson, a geologist at the New South Wales Department of Mines in 1882. Even after this first journey on the island, it would take almost another 100 years before man would summit the peak of the pyramid.
Finally, in 1964, a team from Sydney tried to summit the mountain, but after their fifth day of climbing, they had to turn back due to food and water shortages. The first successful climb came in 1965 by a team of climbers from the Sydney Climbing Club.
Image Source: Jon Clark/ Flickr
In 1982, climbing the pyramid was banned but now, with proper governmental approval, teams can try to make the summit.
The island isn’t just one of the most visually intriguing places on Earth, it is also home to a nearly extinct species of stick bug that is found nowhere else in the world.
The Lord Howe Island Stick Insect, scientifically named Dryococelus Australis, calls Ball’s Pyramid home. While the bug takes its name from the adjacent island, the pyramid is the last known wild population of the insect.
After 1920, a live specimen of the bug wasn’t seen for nearly another century until in 2001, a team of entomologists discovered a population living in a small portion of the island consisting of only 24 individual bugs. That team collected a mating pair and successfully bread them with the eventual goal of reintroducing the species to Lord Howe Island.
So, off the coast of Australia, there lies a natural pyramid that is part of a forgotten sunken continent and home to a small population of nearly-extinct insects. It also might be one of the best places to survive the Zombie Apocolypse – that is, if you can figure out how to find food, shelter, and freshwater.