What’s REALLY under the Dome?

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Probably big rocks and spilled beer, says director of operations Steve Maki, likely only partly in jest.

The Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority had its first public meeting tonight on the environmental evaluation of the proposed $1B stadium project where the Metrodome now stands. Opponents of the site, like Ramsey County boosters, had hinted darkly last year that the Metrodome environs might share a hidden past with the Twin Cities Army Ammunition Plant site: lurking soil contamination that might drive up the cost of the project.

Testing hasn't begun yet, but stadium officials don't think soil contamination going to be a major factor -- likely not the equivalent of the hazards at the TCAAP site, which the Vikings actually favored at one point, despite the TCAAP's "Superfund site" designation.

But the Metrodome is not far from the Mississippi, and was likely once part of the river bluff. That might account for some of the whopper geology on the site. Back when the Dome was originally under construction, crews found a massive, quarter-million pound granite boulder sitting in the site. The Dome's official history has it thusly:

 On January 2, 1980, shortly after excavation had started, bulldozers encountered an immovable force - a 250,000-pound granite rock, believed to have been there for about 11,000 years. The rock was eventually moved to a bank in Plymouth, MN, dubbed “Plymouth Rock,” and construction continued.

Maki told MPR's Matt Sepic that some other monster rocks may still be lurking under the parking lot just east of the stadium. You can read his story here.