Prof. Charles B. Creager
Kansas Rock Garden

James S. Aber

The Emporia State University Kansas Rock Garden is located outside the southeastern end of Science Hall. The idea for a rock garden was conceived in the mid-1980s by Prof. James S. Aber, designed by Dick Weatherholt, and came to fruition in the early 1990s. The rock garden honors Prof. Charles B. Creager, who was chair of the Division of Physical Sciences (1971-1984). The garden features rocks from the State of Kansas, including glacial erratic boulders, petrified wood, and fencepost limestone. Click on the small images below for full-sized pictures; all images © J.S. Aber.

Construction and general overviews

Delivery of glacial boulders from Marshall County, northeastern Kansas. Dick Weatherholt supervises unloading a large boulder. Photo date 7/88.
Building the foundation and limestone wall that forms the back of the rock garden. Photo date 3/91.
Pouring concrete for sidewalks of the rock garden. The concrete is tinted adobe-red color, as is the mortar in the limestone wall. Photo date 9/92.
Overviews of the completed rock garden. Left: early spring seen from the northeast. Right: summer view from the southeast.
Partial solar eclipse in May 1994. Left: students and faculty prepare to view the partial solar eclipse. Right: crescentic highlights and shadows cast through tree leaves onto the sidewalk. Photo date 5/94.

Individual rocks and fossils

Glacial erratics. Left: granite boulder with lichen cover (green spots). Right: Boulder of greenstone; red pocket knife rests on a flat, glacially planed surface. Both were carried by an ice sheet from the Canadian Shield of northern Minnesota or Manitoba and deposited in Marshall County, northeastern Kansas.
Sioux Quartzite. Left: quartzite conglomerate boulder collected from Wabaunsee County, northeastern Kansas. It was carried by an ice sheet from southwestern Minnesota or southeastern South Dakota. Right: glacial scratches and grooves on quartzite from Red Rock Ridge, southern Minnesota.
The largest single glacial boulder (left) consists of green matrix with large quartz crystals (right), a type of volcanic rock. This specimen was collected in Marshall County, northeastern Kansas. It was carried by an ice sheet from northern Minnesota or Canada.
Stone fence posts are an iconic symbol in the Blue Hills of west-central Kansas. They were quarried from the Greenhorn Limestone (upper Cretaceous) by early settlers. Tool marks remain clearly visible in the chalky limestone.
Petrified wood: tree stump and portion of trunk from the Flint Hills of Greenwood County, east-central Kansas. This remarkable fossil tree is early Permian in age.
Left: large nodules of chert (flint) from the lower Permian strata of the Flint Hills, Butler County, south-central Kansas. Right: fossil coral from the Clay Creek Member, upper Pennsylvanian strata, Woodson County, southeastern Kansas.

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Last update Feb. 2012.