On July 22nd 2011, the final stone was set in place to cap completion of the campus’s California Rock Garden -- a Geology GATEway Garden located on the south and east side of the Earth & Physical Sciences Building. (For more information about GATEways and its projects visit the UC Davis Arboretum website.)
This new garden, which features California native plants that are part of the Arboretum All-Stars program, is a destination spot and outdoor education space for those interested in geological pursuits. The landscape contains rock specimens from throughout California and is already being used in many undergraduate geology programs. It also offers local school kids a place to study regional rock types without having to travel.
Late last fall, the majority of specimens were set by Civil & Industrial Services, a division of Campus Planning & Community Resources. Using Civil’s 20-ton crane, stones were placed at specific locations called out by project leaders Professor Peter Schiffman, former Department Chair, and Janice Fong, Illustrator. A striking 6,000 lb. silica stone with veins of pyrite serves as a monument at the entrance of the Earth & Physical Sciences Building. From here the garden unfolds into a variety of rock types formed from igneous, metamorphic, sedimentary and hydro-thermal processes and includes examples of gabbro, schist, gneiss, marble, silica, limestone and lava. The focal point of the garden is the Yuba Blue ‘Teaching Stone’. Delivered from Smartville in Yuba County, this stone has been cleaved and polished to a fine luster, revealing a deep greenish-blue tint with a rich pattern of striations and inclusions.
For CPCR’s Civil & Industrial, this has been one of the most interesting projects they’ve been asked to participate in. Every member of their crew was engaged in the project and at the end received a copy of Roadside Geology of California.
Download this .pdf walking tour of the Geology GATEway Garden for a tour of California geology right here on campus!