Ball’s Pyramid: World’s Largest Volcanic Stack

Ball’s Pyramid is a sea stack, a great jagged spire rising from the Tasman Sea. Its steep base, roughly 650 feet across, is battered by the rugged sea, making the landing a serious challenge. Royal Navy Lieutenant Henry Lidgbird Ball is credited with discovering Ball’s Pyramid in 1788, which was named in his honor. It is located off the southeast shores of Lord Howe Island, over 400 miles northeast of Sydney, Australia.

Lord Howe Island has a spectacular landscape with the volcanic mountains of Mount Gower and Mount Lidgbird looming over the island. Ball’s Pyramid is one of many sea stacks off shore, the eroded remains of what once were much larger volcanoes that formed about 7 million years ago.

It is 562 meters (1,844 ft) high, while measuring only 1,100 meters (3,600 ft) in length and 300 meters (980 ft) across, making it the tallest volcanic stack in the world.

Ball’s Pyramid looks like a place where nothing could survive, but isn’t devoid of life. It is home to the rarest insect in the world, the Lord Howe stick insect, famous for being big as a human hand. The Europeans labeled it a “tree lobster” because of its size and hard exoskeleton. It’s 12 centimeters long and the heaviest flightless stick insect in the world. Local fishermen used to put them on fishing hooks and use them as bait.

Location: Near Lord Howe Island, Australia


Thank you Aija for the submission.

  1. March 6, 2018
    • June 3, 2019

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