The city of White Rock, BC is named after this local landmark, which is estimated to weigh 486 tonnes. The rock is located on the beach of Semiahmoo Bay. It is not naturally white but it has been painted white since the 19th century so that it could be used for navigational purposes. The “White Rock” is most likely a glacial erratic that was deposited in its current location approximately 11,000 to 25,000 years ago during the retreat of the last ice age. While glacier erratics are fairly common in most parts of Canada, this one stands out because of its location, colour, and local folklore.
A glacial erratic is a boulder transported and deposited by a glacier which is of a different rock type than the rocks normally found in the area. Glaciers pick up rocks either by scouring the ground underneath when the ice moves and plucks rocks off of the ground or when debris falls onto the glacier from the surrounding terrain. Glaciers transport rocks by slowly moving due to the force of gravity creating a slow moving “river” of ice. While glaciers move quite slowly on the order of a few hundred feet per year there is one in Greenland called Jakobshavn Isbrae that moves up to 7.8 miles per year. Fortunately, you don’t have to go to Greenland to log this cache. Glacial erratics give us information about the direction of ice movement and distances of transport. Glacial erratics can be any size from small pebbles to large boulders the size of a house.
The local First Nations People have another theory as to the origination of the “White Rock”. Coast Salish legend holds that the son of the Sea God fell for the daughter of a Cowichan chief. The parents of the two star-crossed lovers refused to accept the romance between a god and a mortal being, spurring the son to hurl the huge white rock across the waters. The son vowed wherever the rock landed, would mark the location of his new home, where he and the princess would live and establish a new tribe.
The photo below will help you find it! Thanks Forjo for pointing out that it can be seen with Google Earth.
As of November 18, 2006 to log this Earthcache:
You must e-mail me some unique bit of information regarding the site that you learnt while there. This can be done by answering any of the following questions: what is the rock's height, diameter, or circumference; or since it was used for navigation, how far do you think you could see it and how would you test that theory? Posting a photo is not required but appreciated. I will monitor logs and check my e-mails for appropriate information. Unfortunately, any log that does not meet the requirements will be deleted. Thanks for visiting an Earthcache!