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Okotoks Erratic - The Big Rock, Okotoks

#1 of 8 in Things to do in Okotoks
Landmark Tourist Spot
Big Rock is a 16,500-tonne boulder that is about the size of a two-storey house and lies on the otherwise flat, relatively featureless, surface of the Canadian Prairies in Alberta. It is part of the 930km Foothills Erratics Train of typically angular boulders of distinctive quartzite and pebbly quartzite.This massive angular boulder, which is broken into two main pieces, measures about 135by and is 30ft high. It consists of thick-bedded, micaceous, feldspathic quartzite that is light grey, pink, to purplish. Besides having been extensively fractured by frost action, it is unweathered. Big Rock lies about 5mi west of the town of Okotoks, Alberta, Canada, 11mi south of Calgary in the SE. 1/4 of Sec. 21, Township 20, Range 1, West 5th Meridian.Big Rock is a glacial erratic that is part of a 580mi long, narrow, linear scatter of thousands of distinctive quartzite and pebbly quartzite glacial erratics between 1ft and 135ft in length. This linear scatter of distinctive quartzite glacial erratics is known as the Foothills Erratics Train. The Foothills Erratics Train extends along the eastern flanks of the Rocky Mountains of Alberta and northern Montana to the International Border. The boulders and smaller gravel, which comprises the Foothills Erratics Train, consist of Lower Cambrian shallow marine quartzite and conglomeratic quartzite, which occurs only within the Gog Group and is found in the Athabasca River Valley of central western Alberta. Big Rock is the largest erratic within the Foothills Erratics Train. Lying on prairie to the east of the Rocky Mountains and like all the larger erratics, it is visible for a considerable distance across the prairie and likely served as a prominent landmark for Indigenous people.
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  • This is rare and important geological phenomenon that should be better fenced. We were astonished by the cavalier attitude of many visitors who hopped the low impediment to scrabble upon this beautifu...  more »
  • No toilet paper! And no hand sanitizer! Some genius put SOAP in the container! What kind of a moron puts soap without a sink?!? Rock is good though.  more »
  • Really worth while taking the time to see something that is as old as this. Quite a story and piece of science behind this rock that does look so out of place from the Rocky Mountain backdrop. Standin...  more »