In simple psychological terms, pareidolia is a scenario when our mind perceives a familiar pattern of some thing when we view a dissimilar object or image. In this case, the dissimilar object in question is a natural rock formation, while it reminds our mind (presumably) of an elephant. This uniquely shaped landscape is located on the island of Heimaey, Iceland – with certain angles pertaining to the apparent posture of an elephant drinking water from the adjacent sea.
The ‘wrinkles’ of this elephant was formed by the overlaid texture of basalt, a type of common extrusive igneous (volcanic) rock that is formed due to the rapid cooling of thick lava exposed at our planet’s surface. This textural scope is complemented by an arrangement of ‘strategically’ placed grooves and undulations that almost present a picture-perfect portrayal of the elephant.
Now, as we mentioned before, this effect of pareidolia is entirely natural; and as such the phenomenon is pretty similar to oft encountered ‘aliens‘ and ‘statues‘ on Mars. And, in case you are interested in more large-scale pareidolia scenarios, do take a gander at the dolphin-shaped islands, just off the Amalfi Coast in Southern Italy. As for more images of the elephant rock, check out Flickr.
Photo credit: johdahn
Photo credit: photocheck2
Photo credit: dowen2
Photo credit: Diego Delso