Science usually has a logical explanation for everything, but real life is often stranger than fiction. For instance, if you ever get the chance to visit Olympia, Washington, there are areas covered with curious mounds. Known as the Mima Mounds, these strange unnatural looking structures have defied human comprehension. Despite undergoing tests and constant speculation, no one knows precisely how these formations came into being, or why they exist.

Go-Getting Gophers

The theory that gophers on the prairie are responsible for creating the Mima Mounds has been more widely accepted than other ideas posed. Pocket gophers are found throughout most of the world and are very territorial creatures.

Some scientists believe that over the course of hundreds of years, generations of pocket gophers pushed soil in their den upward, creating the mound shapes all over. Others question the pocket gopher theory and suggest that moles could also be responsible, as there are structures similar to the Mima Mounds all over the planet.


During the time that massive glaciers and ice covered much of the Earth, it is suspected that cycles of freezing and thawing helped create the Mima Mounds. As glaciers would move slowly across terrain and melt, they could leave behind sediment in ‘suncups’ that would form mounds.

The glacier theory seems like a sound concept, but it is still vulnerable to being debunked. The mound formations are too uniform. Glaciers may have been responsible for creating the prairies and leaving behind gravely soil, but the mounds still have an unearthly aura.

Native Americans And Mounds

Some researchers and observers of the Mima Mounds have speculated that the structures were burial sites for Native Americans. This theory that the Mima Mounds were used to inter the dead were laid to rest after some mounds were excavated and didn’t turn up any human remains.

The way that the Mima Mounds are constructed is similar to many Native American burial mounds found throughout North America. When Captain Charles Wilkes stumbled upon the strange domes in the 1880s, he only found a mound of earth inside.

More Theories For An Enigma

Take a trip to see the Mima Mounds with your own eyes, and you will witness an ancient prairie covered with native plants like lichen, Indian plum, and white moss. The uniformity of the mounds is startling, and the energy of the natural landmark will captivate your imagination and curiosity.

Further investigation of the mounds has uncovered glacial debris underneath a thin layer of soil. The silty black soil at the top is suspected to be the result of Native American’s burning the prairie to promote a healthy ecosystem.

The Mystery Continues

The Mima Mounds are 8 feet in height and about 30 feet in circumference, with the domes repeating each other like an earthen bubble wrap. Scientists have made various hypotheses about the site’s development, suggesting that earthquakes, volcanoes, flooding, erosion, and even vegetation caused the mounds.

So far, the pocket gopher theory seems to make the most sense, but one has to ask why gophers would care about making such uniform formations? The Mima Mounds continue to keep their secrets and leave us all with more questions than answers.