Rock Stacking

As a Mechanical Engineer, I have found the aesthetics and physics of  rock stacking to be interesting. For people that do not know of this art, rock stacking is when you take rocks and stack them on top of each other to produce a structure. Rocks tend to(but not always) have minimal flat edges, are stacked vertically and only 1 rock tends to be used as a base. This art requires the creator to find the center of mass of each rock and place it perfectly on top of the previous rock in order to keep it stable. The end result is a small tower that looks as if it is defying the laws of physics and should fall over any second.

In Boulder there is a local resident(Michael  Grab) that goes along the Boulder creek and stacks rocks. His work is very impressive, and I would recommend for people to keep an eye out for it during the summer. What makes his work even more impressive for me is that he is also dealing with wet slippery rocks that are forced to account for water spray from the creek. Here is a link to his work: And here is a link to an article about him:

I find this art to be impressive since I am able to understand how difficult it must have been to create it. This art makes you pause and wonder how the rocks are able to keep their balance. Even if you draw a FBD in your head it might still seem impossible.

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2 Comments. Leave new

  • Incredible aesthetic and beautiful examples beyond the links! I really like how the artist you mentioned uses water to frame and interact with much of his work. I love the aesthetic of wet river rocks in general, its a very unique look thats instantly recognized. It’s fun to watch some of his videos and see how he gets many of these works right on what appears to be the first try. It would be nice to see some images or videos in the post itself and some examples of other artists using the aesthetic. You’re right to point out the fascination for engineers especially. The aesthetic seems to defy while making incredible use of the laws governing much of the physics we use.

  • I really like this choice of Aesthetics. When professor Hertzberg showed us the video of the man who was making art in nature (like with the icicles and such) this was the first aesthetic to come to my mind as well! Unfortunately (for me) you got to it first! Either way I’m glad that someone was able to post about it because it really is cool!


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