How The Rock Got To Plymouth (And To The Parking Lot Near You)

Feb 16, 2012
Originally published on May 23, 2012 9:01 am

In his own words, photographer Fritz Hoffmann is "hooked on erratics," which is a somewhat erratic obsession in the first place. It's a fancy geology term for rocks that have been moved by glaciers — the famous Plymouth Rock being an example. And it's the subject of Hoffmann's most recent story in the March National Geographic.

"I'm not a geologist, don't have a science background and hardly paid attention in high school biology," Hoffmann admits in an email. But he is observant — almost obsessively — and one day started noticing that everywhere he went, rocks seemed to be plopped in the most random locations.

"One element that I wanted to instill in the images was the concept of time," Hoffmann explains. "I thought about this while sitting on top of a 10-foot step ladder in a parking lot waiting for something to happen near a rock, watching people hustling by, the glacial rock sitting where it may have been placed 18,000 years earlier. The rocks move and we move at different speeds."

It's an interesting thought that, in a sense, these unassuming chunks of rock are a bit like time capsules.

What do you think? Have you noticed them where you live?

Be sure to check out Hoffmann's other recent story on Denmark's dogsled team, Sirius.

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