The GCC Rock Park, located at the northwestern edge of the campus, was begun in the early 1980s by Professor Richard Little as a way to preserve the rare armored mud ball samples that he discovered in the suspension cable foundation of a former bridge on the banks of the Connecticut River at Unity Park, Turners Falls, MA. The town highway department dismantled the bridge foundation allowing the samples to be moved to the GCC campus for preservation. Samples from other sites were added to create an outdoor display of large specimens from the region. In 1985 the Rock Park was officially opened and dedicated to Professor Emeritus Dr. Warren I. Johansson of Petersham, who was instrumental in developing the science department at GCC. Over the years new specimens were acquired, sometimes carried back by students from field trip locations, or from local quarries. At active quarries large specimens were often loaded on to a trailer or dump truck with a bucket loader. Many samples were also acquired by having several strong people with a hand-truck.
Between 1996 and 1998 the Park was enlarged by adding a central and southern section and was also reorganized. Today, the Park displays armored mud balls and other sedimentary and metamorphic rocks in the Northern Section (1,300 sq ft); igneous rocks of plutonic (deep-Earth) origins in the Central Section (600 sq. ft.); and extrusive igneous rocks, mostly from the Cheapside Quarry in east Deerfield, compose the Southern Section (1,000 sq. ft.). We have 30 samples over 500 pounds and about 100 other smaller specimens, giving us a total weight of approximately 35 tons.
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