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Mickey Verlaque 4/30/13 GOL 105 Dr. M. Mengason THE GEOLOGY OF NEW YORK The geology of the state that will be covered in this paper will be New York State. The topics that will be covered on the geology of New York will be: geographical/ physiological regions; the geological eras that are presented in the rocks/land mass at the surface level of the state; and the direct and indirect geological impact on New York State. . First the geographical/ physiological regions of New York are made up of mountain ranges, plateaus, highlands, lowlands, plains/ costal plains, and one prong region (which is Manhattan island). The mountain ranges and highlands are major aspects of New York State’s geological landscape. The Adirondack Mountains (Northern New York), The Catskills (the foothills are in Central New York), and The Taconic Mountains (East Central New York) all are part of the Appalachian Mountain range in the state of New York. The section of the Appalachian Plateau in New York is made up two sections: (1) the Allegheny Plateau (Western and West Central New York) and (2) the Tug Hill Plateau region (Northern New York east of the eastern part of Lake Ontario). The Allegheny Plateau is vastly larger than Tug Hill Plateau. The only highland region is the Hudson Highlands. It goes across the Southern part of the state and in one section of the region is cut off by the Hudson River. The Hudson Highlands separate the Hudson-Mohawk Lowlands region from the Manhattan Prong.

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The lowlands and plains of the State of New York are: the Saint Lawrence lowlands (they border the Saint Lawrence River), the Champlain Lowlands (they border Lake Champlain), the Hudson-Mohawk lowlands (they border the Hudson River), the Newark Lowlands (South West of the Manhattan Prong, and the Erie- Ontario Lowlands/ Plains (North and North East Lake Erie and South of Lake Ontario), and the Atlantic Costal Plains (Long Island). A key feature of the lowlands and plains of New York State is that they are located next to lakes, rivers, and even the Atlantic Ocean.

Second is the Geological Eras of New York State that are visible on the surface. The first era dates all the way back to the Precambrian Eon (1300 Million years ago [Ma]). The evidence from the Precambrian Eon is a bedrock that is composed of metamorphic rocks like: marble, gneiss, and anorthosite. These rocks have been pushed up from

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the mountain building of younger sedimentary layers of rocks in the mountain, which have formed the high peaks of the Adirondack Mountains. The other region where its shows evidence from the same Precambrian Eon are the rocks from the Hudson Highlands and part of the Manhattan Prong. This is where the Grenville Orogeny (this is when the Continental land masses came together) happened (580 to 544 late Precambrian Eon). The rocks that indicate this event are metamorphic gneiss and metamorphic granite. The fossils that are present in these rock formations are from the Precambrian Eon are: Stromatolites (around 1300 Ma/ early Precambrian Eon), and Ediacaran Fauna (580 to 544 Ma/ late to end Precambrian Eon). The youngest eon is the Phanerozoic Eon. The oldest era in this Eon is the Paleozoic Era (544 to 251 Ma). The oldest period in this era that is present at the surface of the state is the Cambrian Period (544 to 490 period) in the lowlands of: the Saint Lawrence, Champlain, Hudson-Mohawk regions. The main area of the indication of this period is the Audible Chasm on the boundary between the Adirondack Mountains and the Champlain Lowlands. The indication rock from that period is sandstone. The fossils from the Cambrian Period that are found in these regions are: the earliest know marine animals that had shells, the earliest trilobites, diverse trilobites, and the earliest chordates (544 to 526 Ma/ early Cambrian Period), the burgess shale fauna (526 to 508 Ma/ mid Cambrian Period), and the earliest fish (517 to 590 Ma/ mid-late to end of Cambrian Period). The second oldest period in this era is the Ordovician Period (490 to 443 Ma). This era is present in the surfaces of the majority of these regions: the Taconic Mountains, the Tug Hill Plateau, the Erie-Ontario Lowlands/ Plains, the Champlain Lowlands, the Manhattan Prong, and the Hudson-Mohawk Lowlands. There are rocks and fossils on the perimeter of the Tug Hill Plateau that present indications of the early part the Ordovician Period (490 to 474.33 Ma). The rock that is indicative of this period is a belt of

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limestone that goes across the northern perimeter of the plateau. And the fossils located in the limestone are: bryozoans, brachiopods, and trilobites. The visible rocks from this period in the Manhattan Prong is metamorphic rock that shows signs of an ice age, where the ice sheet seceded and started to melt to the north. The presentation on the rocks of this region is striated and polished. Other indications from the Tug Hill Plateau are the sequential layers of rocks from the late Ordovician Period (458.66 to 443 Ma), which include: shale, siltstone, and sandstone deposits in the plateau. The end of the Ordovician Period (443 Ma) area is located in the Niagara River. In the northern area of the Niagara escarpment the formation of red shale is visible in the Queenston formation. The other fossils that are present at the surface from this period are: graptolites [abundant] (590 to 474.33 Ma/ Early Ordovician). The third eldest period in this era is the Silurian Period (443 to 418 Ma) that is present on the surfaces of the Erie-Ontario Lowland, the southern boarder of the Catskills, and the Hudson-Mohawk Lowlands. There is conglomerate sandstone, which can be seen in the folding titling westward of New Paltz area. This also indicates the presence of the Allegheny Orogeny from the late Silurian Period (430.5 to 418 Ma). The fossils that are present at the surface from this period are: eurypterids peak of development (443 to 430.5 Ma/ early Silurian Period),earliest insects, and the earliest land plants and animals (430.5 to 418 Ma/ late Silurian Period). The fourth eldest period in this era is the Devonian Period (418 to 362 Ma). There is evidence of this period at the surface in the Catskills and in the Allegheny Orogeny. These two regions show indications of an ice age where the ice sheet retreated and formed canyons, gorges, and plateaus. The rocks from this period that are presented in these two regions are: limestone, sandstone (conglomerate), and shale. The fossils from this Devonian Period are: last known armored fish, other types of prehistoric fish (418 to 399.33 Ma/ early to late-mid Devonian Period), the earliest amphibians, ammonoids, and sharks (390 to 362

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Ma/ mid to late Devonian Period). The second eldest era in this eon is the Mesozoic Era (251 to 65 Ma). The oldest in this era is the Triassic Period (251 to 206 Ma), which is present in this region in the Newark Lowlands. The rocks present there are arkose and conglomerate sandstone from an ancient rift valley that was broke off from a part of Africa and was attached to North America. The fossils that are present at the surface of this region from that period are: the last of the many known prehistoric marine animals, including trilobites (251 Ma/ Beginning of the Triassic Period), the earliest known dinosaurs, mammals, and an abundance of cycads and conifers (266 to 281 Ma/ mid Triassic Period). The youngest in this era is the Cretaceous Period (142 to 65 Ma), which is located in Staten Island. The fossils that are found in this location are: the earliest flowering plants, the decline of brachiopods, and the beginning of the bony fish (142 to 103.5 Ma/ Early Cretaceous Period). The youngest era in this eon is the Cenozoic Era, and the only period that is present at the surface is the Quaternary Period (1.6 to 0 Ma). This is located in the Atlantic Costal plains where part of New York City is situated (Queens and Brooklyn) and Long Island. The sound and sand banks of Long Island Sound show the extent of which the ice sheet during the last ice age extended to and the role it played in the formation the Long Island

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Sound. The fossils found here are: mammoths, mastodons, and ancient Homo-sapiens(1.6 Ma).

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Third are the direct and indirect affects geology has on New York State. The direct affects are geological hazards, which include landslides, earthquakes, rockslides, and, beach erosion. The first type of geological hazard is landslides. Here are some areas where landslides have happened: the North Shore of Long Island (1904), Tully Valley (2001), and Keene Valley (2011). The second type of hazard is earthquakes. The region where there is the highest risk for earthquakes is the Saint Lawrence Lowland area, and the second

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highest risk spot is in City of New York itself. The third type of hazard is rocks slides. The regions where they commonly take place are: the Taconic Mountains, the Adirondack Mountains, the Catskills, the Allegheny Plateau, and the Tug Hill Plateau. The fourth type of geological hazard that happens on the Atlantic Costal Plain of New York State is beach erosion. This can happen when there are major storms, like Hurricane Sandy. The indirect affects of geology impacts tourism, economics/mining, and agriculture. In the tourism sector of New York State people come to visit unique geological formations. .For example Niagara Falls has exquisite geological features that attract people come from all around the world to come and visit this magnificent waterfall. Also in the are of tourism, there is ecotourism, as there are plenty of national parks in this region for people to go hiking, camping, rafting, and other outdoor activities that surround these geological areas. The geological features of New York State also affect the economics of the state. For example mining in New York is very economically beneficial to the state. The type of mining they do in New York is: crushed stones, limestone, salt, zinc, and construction sand and gravel. Agriculture is also affected by the geology of the state. The soil in New York State is unlike the rich soil of the Great Plains, so New York State cannot grow a variety of crops like in the Great Plains. This is because the ground has too much rock to remove for proper use of the earth in lowlands of the state. Therefore, the only types of food they can grow on a large scale are fruit orchards like: apples, pears, and pumpkins or berries in the mountainous areas; and maple trees to make maple syrup.

In conclusion, the geology of the state of New York is comprised of different types of geological regions of mainly mountains and lowlands. The lowlands and plains are surrounded or near water bodies for the most part. The geological evidence, which is apparent on the surface,

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demonstrates that New York State has a very ancient geological history. Although New York State is not associated with major geological hazards, they do exist. New York State’s regions and their related geological formations impact its economy in the areas of tourism, mining, and agriculture. By the way, did you know New York State’s rock is the garnet and the state’s fossil is a Eurypterid?

sWORK CITED PAGE "Earthquakes May Endanger New York More Than Thought, Says Study." - The Earth Institute. Columbia University, 21 Aug. 2008. Web. 29 Apr. 2013. <>.

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"Geologic Units in New York (state in United States)." Geologic Units in New York (state in United States). USGS, 8 May 2012. Web. 29 Apr. 2013. <>. "Mining In New York State." - NYS Dept. of Environmental Conservation. New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, 2013. Web. 29 Apr. 2013. <>. "New York Geography from NETSTATE." New York Geography from NETSTATE. NSTATE, LLC, 7 Aug. 2012. Web. 29 Apr. 2013. <>. "New York State Geology." New York State Geology. Hofstra University, n.d. Web. 29 Apr. 2013. <>. "New York's Physical Characteristics." New York's Physical Characteristics. New York State Museum, n.d. Web. 29 Apr. 2013. <>. "Physical Geography." Physical Geography of NYS. National Weather Service at Buffalo, n.d. Web. 29 Apr. 2013. <>. "Recent Publications." Recent Publications. USGS, 5 Dec. 2011. Web. 29 Apr. 2013. <>.

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