A bit about the Boulder of Boulder Park, Nora Springs, Iowa ...

by Ambr Shinn 2005

What the hell is that? What the hell is it doing there? There are a few theories.
Firstly, that it was ejected from the stern end of a galactic freighter bound for deep space, and like birds, they travel faster and lighter when they aren’t bogged down with unnecessary filth. All of the waste generated upon the ship is contained in a single area, and undergoes radiation as well as extreme heat and pressure to surpass any resemblance to a biotic type form, and change into rock. The boulder in Nora Springs is what was left even after the experience of reentry into our atmosphere, indicating that this hypothesis is full of shit.


The second, more probable explanation is that this chunk of rock is a common side effect of Iowa’s geologic past. It’s a glacial erratic. It is a giant piece of super hard, super heavy, no-messin’ around igneous rock that’s been living in that spot for approximately 12,500 years, and it isn’t going anywhere anytime soon unless city hall decides that they’ve got a bunch of money to throw around with seismic readings and guestimates on the total size and weight of the rock to actually attempt to move it. Glaciation through the Pleistocene may be the principle cause of many interesting features scattered across the Iowa landscape, of when cold climates were the norm, and mile thick ice scraped the landscape and brought deposits with it. Four separate episodes of glaciation occurred, each potentially measuring up to a mile in thickness and depositing loess, drift soils, and erratics upon their retreat. From the very small to the very large, glaciers left their calling cards on Iowa’s surface. Glacial erratics were moved, deposited, dumped, and now dot the landscape. Chunks of Precambrian igneous rocks were moved by glacial ice and left when they receded. Erratics range from baseball-sized to large structures that cities’ planners and farm fields are forced to go around. Nora Springs possesses one of many glacial erratics in the state that city planners have worked with instead of against. Not wanting to attempt to move the giant, they worked around it in the form of a park, named Boulder Park.
Of course, if you believe Geology is a bunch of shit, you may appreciate a legend of the boulder being a landmark and spiritual spot. The lore/legend (I have no supporting evidence for this fable) is the story of the Indian maiden who wept at the side of the boulder because she could not marry her true love. When she was found in the morning cold and lifeless next to the boulder, the people pointed to the fracture in the rock that had developed overnight, and said the stone had felt sorry for the maiden, and had broken just as her heart had.


It’s a local landmark! It’s Geology! It’s huge! …and it’s a lot of fun play on.

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