(Fitchburg, MA) Rollstone Boulder (Glacial Erratic)


Rollstone Boulder (42.5866, -71.8059), Sunday Feb. 11, 2024, in Fitchburg, MA.  Credits: Geo Field Report

A lot of the geographical features of northern New England is shaped by glaciers.  The foci of our last report, the Two Brothers Rocks, were medium-sized (~4 ft tall each) glacial erratics.  Today we visited a bigger glacial erratic, the Rollstone Boulder in Fitchburg, MA.

Prior to this visit, I've always wondered: rocks can be moved by human activity, at what scale do geographers conclude that only nature could've done the work.  The Rollstone Boulder is probably a good example with some history behind it.  The boulder originally sat near some quarries, and the quarry owners agreed to preserve the boulder.  Later (late 1920s/early 1930s), Fitchburg hired a mason to move the boulder to the town center.  The move proved to be a lot harder than anticipated, the mason ended up breaking the boulder into pieces and glued the pieces together at today's location.  The Rollstone Boulder is 10 feet tall, weighing more than 100 tons, and to move it across town required some major invasive operation on the rock.  I am going to draw my line at 10 feet and 100 tons, higher than that is likely nature's work.

Extended reading:

(Mass Dept of Conservation and Recreation) Fitchburg Reconnaissance Report


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