The Petrifying well- a scientific wonder of nature

Hey guys, today I’m gonna talk about a slightly different topic, the petrifying well. Its water petrifies anything kept under it. We shall know about its history a little bit and then we are going to look into its scientific explanation.

The Petrifying well is located in Knaresborough,England!Over the years, millions of people have come to see for themselves the amazing powers of the Petrifying Well. This ancient well, formerly known as the Dropping Well, is believed to be the only one of its kind in England. At the time Mother Shipton was born, Knaresborough townsfolk believed the well to be magic and never ventured near it. They had seen small twigs, leaves and perhaps a dead bird turned to stone in the well’s falling waters.


They were very superstitious in those days and believed that if they touched the waters they too would be turned to stone! They also noticed the side of the well looked like a giant’s skull. The earliest written reference to the well was by John Leyland, antiquary to Henry VIII. He visited the well in 1538 and noted that it was very well-known and visited by many to drink and shower under its falling waters, as they were believed to have miraculous healing powers. In the early 1600s samples of water were examined by a medical physician. His report concluded that the waters from the well were a miracle cure for “any flux of the body”!

If you visit the Petrifying Well , you can see a whole host of everyday objects slowly being petrified in the cascading waters. The most popular item is a teddy bear or soft toy which usually takes between three and five months to turn to stone. There are caps and hats too. There is even a petryfied cycle also!


What’s the possible scientific explanation behind this petrification?
Modern day scientists got around to analyzing water samples from the Petrifying Well and the water was found to contain a high mineral content that forms a coating around objects. With prolonged exposure, the coating would create a hard mineral shell, a lot like how stalactites and stalagmites form, but at a much faster pace. In fact, the calcite levels in the water are so high that visitors are forbidden from drinking it!

I’m attaching a youtube link of the Petrifying well! If you guys are interested, you can enjoy the video!



Soumyanil Adhikary

IISER Bhopal

4 thoughts on “The Petrifying well- a scientific wonder of nature

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *