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Posted by Steven in Colorado Springs, CO on 6/11/2009

Behemoth Go Boom!

A few days ago during our excavation we stumbled across a large boulder which I immediately dubbed Behemoth. He was a monster just about half the size of the apartment living room and located right in the middle of said area.  If he'd been just a foot deeper we could have just built over him and been unreasonably happy about the immensely solid foundation under that portion of Tanglewood, but since he stuck up into the living area only one choice remained--he had to be blasted out.

So Tuesday Colleen and Builder Dale took a guy who specializes in this kind of thing (no, I don't have his name on me as I post this) to make an estimate for visiting destruction upon this cursed rock.  He came up with an estimate that was roughly twice as much as I thought it would be but which (Builder Dale assures me) was about half of what these kinds of things normally cost.

Urk.  Clearly I'm in the wrong business!

Taking a deep breath and telling myself that this is why we have a Contingency Fund built into the construction budget, I okayed the blast, and so today they trooped up and laid waste to Behemoth.  Of course they didn't actually lay waste to the whole boulder--Behemoth is far too large for that--but at least they could take off the top couple of feet so we could build atop it. Unfortunately I couldn't go (somebody has to work to pay for this project!) but Colleen was sure to take along the digital video camera to get plenty of action shots.

In order to make this all happen and be as affordable as possible the explosives guy took a couple of components up to Tanglewood and mixed them together on site.  This avoids him having to wrangle all of the paperwork apparently involved when one transports actual explosives along state and federal highways, though it adds a bit of time to the process.  He laid out the charges in a grid pattern along Behemoth, spaced roughly two feet apart, and then wired them all up for simultaneous detonation.

Wow.  Did he ever do a number on that rock!  The top couple of feet were blown right off of it and the whole rock leveled quite a bit below where we need to put the house.  Of course far and away the bulk of Behemoth remains below ground (we have no idea how big it actually is) but at least that'll form a good foundation for Tanglewood.  I'm a bit puzzled that Behemoth seems to be made of a darker, grayer, redder rock than the stuff sitting on the other side of the ground (mostly white and light-gray) but it certainly is pretty enough.  I'll be saving a few chunks as souvenirs once they are dug out and washed off.  Rain was moving in (again--sigh) by the time they got done so there wasn't any significant additional excavation done afterward, but at least it all looks straightforward from this point on.

Pics are below showing the aftermath, and there's a movie (about 1 minute long) showing the actual detonation.  For safety's sake Builder Dale, Colleen, the explosives guy and his wife stood about 300 feet up the road from the blast site but they still got peppered with dust and gravel.  It's amazing what a difference a careful application of explosives can make.  It's still far too wet up there to scoop the resulting rock-and-gravel mess out of the mud, but it's also not going anywhere. 

If we can't finish making the ground nice and level, at least we had some fun blowing things up!

Steven in Colorado Springs

Photos

The top of Behemoth reduced to manageable rubble. Yay!
Another pile of rocks from Behemoth. Note the mud puddles all about; it was raining by the time they were done making this mess.
Another angle on the destruction.
A close-up of one particularly interesting looking fragment. This one is about the size of a 5-gallon bucket. The rock looks very nice.
A look across the muddy pit that is Tanglewood standing more-or-less on a fragment of Behemoth. No more work today!


Videos

Explosion video of Behemoth. Colleen ran the actual trigger, and you can hear the explosives guy counting down to detonation. Builder Dale can be heard mentioning that he only got one good still shot with the digital camera.


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