Posts Tagged 'On the Rocks'

Fossils of the Catskill Sea

Fossils of the Catskill Sea

Illustrations from a nineteenth-century geology textbook show typical marine shellfish fossils of Devonian age, a time period running from 419 to 369 million years ago. That’s the age of almost all the rocks here in the Catskills. Those fossils speak to geologists of a time when all of our region lay beneath the waves of a shallow sea, sometimes called the Catskill Sea.

On the Rocks: The black shales of Noah’s flood

On the Rocks: The black shales of Noah’s flood

You can see good black shales on Glasco Turnpike near Mt. Marion. Other black shale strata are seen along Route 209, north of Kingston. Visit either of these locations and see the dark color and view the laminations. Uniformitarianist geologists find sediments resembling these at the bottoms of today’s deep seas.

On the Rocks: A dark and stormy night

On the Rocks: A dark and stormy night

By the midnight of this awful night the storms had passed, and things had settled down. Where there had been colorful marine meadow, now there was the barren desolation of a fresh 10-inch thick deposit of coarse sediment. Few seafloor creatures were still alive; many had been broken up into a shell hash. As the moon rose over the dark sea floor, the last grains of the finer, lighter sediments were falling out of suspension like a marine dust. The new deposit was settling and compacting under its own weight. It was beginning a long process that would very slowly turn it into limestone. That limestone is still there, exposed along Rte. 9W.

Cliffs and waterfalls in the Catskills

Cliffs and waterfalls in the Catskills

To geologists, there is a simple question. How did these waterfalls, with their hazards, come into existence? Haven’t waterfalls just always been there? Well no they haven’t; they were brought into existence by geological processes. We just have to be observant enough to figure out those processes.