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The Giant of Oevelgoenne

How to catch and to loose a big rock

In mid september 1999 there wa a big glacial erratic boulder discovered in the river Elbe at Hamburg. The estimated weight was around 120 up to 160 tons, so it would be one of the biggest glacial erratic boulders ever found in northern germany. Because the rock was located in the shipīs way to the harbour of Hamburg, it had to be removed. And due to itīs size, it should not be crushed but salvaged and laid down on the shore of the river. So in the morning time of monday, October the 18th, a big crane, Tak Lift 4, appeared to get the boulder out of the water.

Tak Lift 4

Early in the morning, Tak Lift 4 appeared to lift the rock.

Some time later, two divers went down to the river bed to fix the rock to the craneīs hook. Meanwhile the rock, which was prepared for this on friday before, was again covered with sediment. So the divers had to remove this before doing their main duty. And they had to hurry! Only for a short time between the tides there is no current in the river. As time went by, everyone got nervous on the boats and the shore.


A diver will go down to the water.

So it was just in time when the divers could fix the rock in a special net to the crane. Like a big grey whale the giantic boulder appeared from the water.

the giant of Oevelgoenne

The rock appears like a whale.

Very carefully the crane liftet the rock, but unfortunately, it happened. The rock slippet out of the net and went down to the river again.

Back to the water!

In a cloud of foam the rock went down again


Only a big wave shows the place, where the boulder was just a few seconds before

On saturday, October the 23th another salvage operation was more successful. Now the giant rests on the shore of Oevelgoenne. Itīs weight was measured with 217 tons and itīs circumference 19,70 meters, so it is really one of the five biggest glacial erratic boulders of northern germany and of course the biggest in Hamburg. The material was a grey granite from Vexjoe, Sweden.

© 1999 Gunnar Ries No copying and commercial use of the pictures without my permission!

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