Jade erratic

Posted by Ken Campbell April 17, 2009 0 Comment 893 views

The next time you are faced with travel delays, slow service, or when you feel abandoned someplace far from home, consider the erratic.

A jade erratic (or glacial erratic) is a rock that deviates from the size and type of rock native to the area in which it is found. The name is derived from the latin errere, and speaks to the way that the stones are carried by glacial ice, often over long distances. Erratics can range in size from pebbles to large boulders, and they are quite common along the shores of western Washington.

Geologists identify these ancient travelers by studying the rocks in the surrounding area as well as the composition of the erratic itself. Erratics were once considered evidence of a massive flood that took place approximately 10,000 years ago, something on the order of the flood myths described by ancient civilizations throughout the world. Once faith was traded for a more scientific approach, however, these erratics came to be seen as evidence for the end of the last ice age, about 100 centuries back, rather than a flood. The simplest explanation (and therefore, according to Occam’s razor, the correct one), is that landslides or rockfalls initially deposited the rocks on top of glacial ice. The glaciers continued their slow, but certain, progress, carrying the hitchhikers with them. When the ice of the glaciers melted, the erratics were left in their present locations.

We have a choice. Unlike the jade erratics, we have the ability to change our course of travel. We are not fated to simply end up where the glacier of life and responsibility carries us. It’s helpful, sometimes, to remember this.

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