Rock rolls

DM

The University of Wisconsin-Madison removed a boulder from its Madison campus after the Black Student Union and other activists objected to its description nearly 100 years ago with a racial slur. Chamberlin Rock, which rests on top of Observatory Hill, is named after a 19th Century geologist and former university president, Thomas Crowder Chamberlin, whose work centred on glacial deposits. A reporter’s reference to the 70-tonne rock in a nearly century-old Wisconsin State Journal article that prompted the removal. In October 1925 the university had the boulder excavated and placed prominently atop the hill to honour Chamberlin, who died in 1928. The rock was a rare specimen believed to be more than 2 billion years old, and before being installed on Observatory Hill, only about a foot and a half was visible above ground, according to the article. It was believed to have been carried by glaciers from Canada to Wisconsin.

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