In Washington, United States
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A long time ago, about 15,000 years ago, the Vashon glacier began to melt and recede from the lands that were to become known as the Puget Sound region and the Columbia Basin region. By 11,000 years ago, the glacier has retreated to the border of present-day Canada. During its advance, the glacier had carved out Lake Washington, Lake Tapps, Lake Sammamish, Puget Sound, and Hood Canal. The other major shaper of the land -- the pushing of the Pacific Plate underneath the North American plate, and the docking of terranes (fragments of continents) had already occurred long ago.
The Vashon glacier was the last "stade" (a glacial advance and retreat) to cover the region. It was the last glacier of the Pleistocene Epoch, which lasted from 2 million years b.p. (before present) to about 10,000 years b.p. As far south as the Seattle area to the west and the Spokane area to the east, the glacier, at its thickest, reached 3,000 feet of ice. To give a comparison, the Pacific Northwest's tallest skyscraper (as of 2003), Seattle's Bank of American Tower (Columbia Tower), is about 997 feet tall.
When the glacier retreated for the last time it left behind this big rock, known to geologists as the Wedgwood Erratic.
Native Americans knew what would become the Wedgwood neighborhood because it was a crossroads. Over 14,000 years ago, the Vashon Glacier left behind this large boulder. Geologists call the feature an erratic since it is unlike any other rocks in the area. The rock was useful landmark and it became the intersection of a number of trails through the dense forest.
After the Native Americans departed for reservations, the rock became a popular picnic site for Seattle residents. Professor Edmund Meany of the University of Washington often led field trips there. It was called simply, Big Rock. Mountaineers and Scouts enjoyed climbing it.
Big Rock was owned by Winlock Miller, a regent at the University. His father had acquired the land prior to statehood. In 1941, Big Rock was in the middle of Al Balch's Wedgwood development. Balch had to promise not to touch the rock as part of the agreement to sell. After that, Big Rock became Wedgwood Rock. Neighbors cared for the plants and trees that grew around it and continue to do so to this day.
In 1970, Wedgwood Rock acquired a new reputation. Some neighbors complained to the city council about hippies who frequented the rock. Complainants reported that, "dirty, long-haired, bearded individuals" (Lake City Star) loitered around the rock, climbed it, and disturbed the neighborhood. Climbers were accused of harassing citizens, taking drugs while on the rock, and using abusive language. The petitioners expressed the belief that Big Rock was being used by hippies to identify homes to burglarize. In October 1970, the city council took the situation seriously and passed an ordinance making it a crime to climb Big Rock, punishable by a fine of $100.
To log this cache, you must email us the answer to these two questions: Please do not include the answers to the questions in your on-line logs, either in the clear or encrypted.
1. How tall is the rock?
2. What’s the circumference of the rock?
And to prevent armchair logging, you must attach a picture of you, yourself and/or your group to your FOUND IT log. Bonus points if your group is large enough to encircle the rock.
Both parts are required, and you need not wait for a reply from me before logging, but logs without the proper email and/or pics will be deleted.
If you want to make this a two-fer check out grossi's virtual Terracache.
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Last Updated: on 5/17/2013 4:40:09 PM Pacific Daylight Time (11:40 PM GMT)
Coordinates are in the WGS84 datum