Giant rock, possibly 2 million years old, found at construction site

EVERETT — Work on the new Courtyard by Marriott hotel ground to a halt Nov. 13 when the construction workers struck something. Something big and hard.

“It was a big thud,” said Ben Hansen, the site superintendent for Halvorson Construction Group, the contracting company building the hotel for developer Touchstone Corp.

The thud came from a rock bigger than an SUV, roughly 18 or 19 feet long, 10 feet high, and weighing about 300,000 pounds. The work crews broke several drill bits on it, and even the crew’s Hitachi 450 excavator can’t lift it.

“I can roll it downhill!” Jon Bates called out from the excavator’s cab.

Given that the boulder is about 30 feet below ground, where the crew was digging out what will become the hotel parking garage, that’s not very useful.

At best guess, the rock could be up to 2 million years old, Hansen said.

“I don’t know that it’s truly 2 million years old, that’s speculation,” said Kurt Merriman, a geotechnical engineer with Associated Earth Sciences in Kirkland who was called out to the work site Wednesday morning to examine it.

The boulder is called a “glacial erratic,” basically a giant rock carried to its current location by the crest of the most recent glacial period, about 18,000 years ago, and dropped when the glacier started to retreat.

“We see this occasionally in the glacial soils that underlie the area,” Merriman said.

He thinks the boulder probably originated in northern Canada or Alaska.

In the meantime, the Halvorson crew has been working on figuring out how to get it out of the hole, and what to do with afterward, so they can get back to work.

The crew has two options, Hansen said. One is to try to break it into smaller, lighter pieces. The other is to give it to the city, for historical purposes.

“It’s a prehistoric rock,” he said. The city hasn’t gotten back to them on their offer, he added.

“They might be willing to donate it to us or work with us if we can find a home for it,” said Meghan Pembroke, the city’s communications director.

She added that a decision hasn’t been made.

Chris Winters: 425-374-4165; cwinters@heraldnet.com. Twitter: @Chris_At_Herald.

Talk to us

More in Local News

Mariner High School. (Mariner High School)
Police: Teen arrested for threats against 3 Mukilteo schools

After a social media post, the 14-year-old is being investigated for allegedly threatening to shoot and bomb.

Previous Smith Ave campers have relocated to across the  'no-sit, no-lie' ordinance boundary and set up on Hewitt at the US 2 entrance in Everett. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Snohomish County proposes 0.1% sales tax for affordable housing

The tax could be approved without a public vote. It would allow for a dramatic increase in new housing for low-income people.

A rainbow appears in front of Andy Huestis and his girlfriend Alisha Garvin as they and other families gather to remember the victims on the third anniversary of the Oso mudslide on Wednesday, March 22, 2017 in Oso, Wa. Huestis' sister, Christina Jefferds, and her baby granddaughter, Sanoah Violet Huestis, were among the 43 people killed in the mudslide.  (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
Funding secured: Mudslide memorial will be a place to remember

Since 2014, families have mourned at a roadside shrine near Oso, but “we knew we needed something bigger.”

With omicron likely to appear here, officials urge boosters

Washington’s state epidemiologist said it could be weeks before we know more about the new coronavirus variant.

A traveler points to Bedal Campground on a map posted along the Mountain Loop Highway in June. (Sue Misao / Herald file)
Mountain Loop Highway to close for the winter

The 14-mile stretch of gravel road will shut down starting Friday. Snow has hit higher elevations.

Everett man hospitalized after crashing into wall off I-5

He reportedly drove onto a bus-only ramp near the Mountlake Terrace Transit Center and hit a cement wall.

Bradley Woolard (U.S. Attorney's Office)
Arlington-area man who led fentanyl ring gets 20 years

When Bradley Woolard’s home was raided in 2018, authorities found more than 12,000 fentanyl pills.

Matthew McGowan walks into the courtroom before the start of (his sentencing) a motion for a new trial at the Snohomish County Courthouse on Thursday, Jan. 30, 2020 in Everett, Wash. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Sentence reduced 7 years for Everett man who tied man to tree to die

Matthew McGowan sought resentencing under a state Supreme Court ruling. Hundreds of other local defendants could follow.

Jacob Akers in his replica Dude sweater from The Big Leboswki on Tuesday, Nov. 23, 2021 in Everett, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Dude, you’re knitting some bodacious ‘Big Lebowski’ sweaters

Jacob Akers, 29, a Costco shelf stocker, knits cardigans made famous by the 1998 cult classic guy flick.

Most Read