Thursday, October 6, 2016

Willamette Meteor - A well traveled erratic

The Willamette Meteor can be described as a triple erratic. The meteor landed in British Columbia or northern Washington or northern Idaho sometime between 20,000 and 14,000 years ago. A meteor should be considered an extreme erratic. A piece of rock that did not form locally; it came from somewhere else. In this case, somewhere else was from very far away.

The next stage of this erratic's wanderings was that it was transported by glacial ice into northern Idaho or possibly northern Washington. It had become a glacial erratic. That trip placed the rock and the ice it was embedded in either in the ice dam holding back glacial Lake Missoula or within ice associated with glacial Lake Columbia.

During one of the larger outburst floods that ice was rafted as an ice berg across eastern Washington, through Wallula Gap, down through the Columbia River Gorge through the Cascades Mountains into a backup area of water in the lower Willamette valley where the ice berg grounded. The lake receded and the ice berg melted leaving the unusual rock to be be contemplated by future people.

The rock ultimately ended up on a couple more voyages. First a few miles in the Willamette valley via a local that tried to claim the meteor as his own and then later to New York after it was sold to the natural History Museum.

The story can be found on the link above and shout out to retosterricolas for calling it to my attention in his post. 

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