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

Top (L-R): Kim Daughtry, Steve Ewing. Bottom (L-R): Gary Petershagen, Marcus Tageant.
Developers court Lake Stevens council incumbents with over $20K

Over half of the campaign dollars for four candidates came from people tied to real estate or property development.

Voting thing
Decision time: Ballots on their way to a half-million voters

Races for mayor, city councils and school boards are focal point of the Nov. 2 election in Snohomish County.

Police investigating Mill Creek collision where man died

A stretch of 35th Ave SE was expected to be closed for a few hours Friday night.

No injuries, one arrested in Silver Lake drive-by shooting

An Everett woman, 35, was booked into jail for investigation of first-degree assault.

People look through a box of vegetables at the Lake Stevens Community Food Bank on Aug. 30, 2018 in Lake Stevens, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Big push lands Lake Stevens Food Bank a slice of federal aid

When the County Council OK’d use of $56.6 million, it made a change, steering $600,000 to the nonprofit.

Everett woman who died in crash south of Everett identified

Tigist Abay, 50, was on her way to work Oct. 5 when she was injured near 128th Street.

Police say a woman had a concealed handgun in her possession as she was being booked on a DUI charge at the Snohomish County Jail on Wednesday. (Snohomish County Sheriff's Office)
Police: Woman had gun in her abdomen when booked into jail

The loaded Colt .25-caliber semiautomatic handgun was found in the folds of her flesh at the Snohomish County Jail.

Firefighters contained a fire to a storage area inside Cabela's around 5am this morning. Smoke spread throughout building, putting preliminary damage estimate at about $500,000. We're glad no one is hurt. Sno County Fire Marshal's Office is investigating cause. (Marysville Fire District)
Fire causes $500K damage at Tulalip Cabela’s

The outdoor supplies store closed after heavy smoke damaged merchandise and more in the building.

Everett, Smokey Point rest areas closed for 2021

WSDOT announced the closures were due to ongoing maintenance, staffing and vandalism problems.

Most Read