Spittal Pond Nature Reserve – Smith's, Bermuda - Atlas Obscura

Spittal Pond Nature Reserve

Smith's, Bermuda

Where a rare geological phenomenon created a section of rock that resembles a checkerboard. 


You might not be able to play checkers at Spittal Pond Nature Reserve, but there is a checkerboard. Or, at least something that resembles one, thanks to a unique geological phenomenon.

One of the highlights of Bermuda’s largest nature reserve is its rocky shore. A series of lines eroded into the limestone is a particularly peculiar attraction. Locals dubbed it “the Checkerboard” because of its familiar criss-crossing appearance.

The lines are actually a rare geological phenomenon called tessellated pavement. Over time, when cracks or joints in a rock become eroded, it creates a unique effect that makes it look as though the land mysteriously transformed itself into a tile floor.

The Checkerboard is made of limestone that cracked, weathered, and as a result, sprouted its signature squares. It’s likely stress from caves that once collapsed on the island also contributed to its unique appearance.

In addition to the odd rocks, Spittal Pond Nature Reserve offers plentiful trails that wind through lush greenery. It’s also a great place for birdwatching.

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