The trail to the glacial erratic.
The view from the erratic.
Another view from the erratic.
Photos by Charles Meier
My eldest and I recently took a trip to the Oregon coast to celebrate his 31st birthday, and we stopped by Erratic Rock State Natural Site, in the Willamette Valley near Sheridan. I gave him my camera, and found that he’s another member of our little family with a great eye for photos.
A glacial erratic is rock that is different from the type of rock normally found in the area where it has been found, having been carried to its present location by glacial ice.
This particular erratic is a bit different, in that it was carried to this place encased in an iceberg let loose by the Missoula Floods.
The pre-historic Missoula floods began in western Montana fifteen to twenty-thousand years ago. These large floods altered the landscape of the Columbia River valley and flooded the Willamette Valley. Many rocks were transported down the Columbia encased in icebergs and deposited from Montana through Idaho,Washington, and Oregon when the flood waters receded and the ice melted.
The really cool thing about this rock — other than the fact that it’s a friggin’ glacial erratic — is that it comes from Canada, and it’s the only rock of its type outside of Canada.
Geologically, the rock comes from Canada and is the largest glacial erratic rock in the Willamette Valley. The rock is argillite believed to be 600 million years old and originally part of the sea-floor.
This geology geek just went all tingly. Coolness!!!
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