Hudson River: a Detailed and Comprehensive Geological History

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  • Topic: Hudson River, Appalachian Mountains, Glacier
  • Pages : 19 (6375 words )
  • Download(s) : 236
  • Published : April 22, 2013
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Contents
Introduction………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..2 Hudson River Formation……………………………………………………………………………………………………………..5 Hudson Canyon…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………12 Glacial History…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..14 Conclusion…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………17 Bibliography………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………18 Maps & Diagrams…..………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….19 Hudson Canyon……………………………………………………………………………………………………………..19 Geological Processes……………………………………………………………………………………………………….22

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Introduction
In 1872, a naturalist and surveyor by the name of Verplanck Colvin found the source of the Hudson River. It is a small pond on the south western slope of Mt. Marcy, the highest peak in the Adirondacks, called Lake Tear of the Clouds. So little is Lake Tear of the Clouds that if no water was to feed it for seven days it would be reduced to just an empty basin. Nevertheless, the Hudson starts right in its waters. One could say the Hudson River is divided into two distinct sections differentiated by geology and appearance. The first section winds its way through the Adirondack Mountains spanning 166 miles from Lake Tear of the Clouds to the Federal Dam in Troy. This section is un-navigable by boat and in some places somewhat rapid. The second section, which is quite different from the first, starts at the Federal Dam and runs for 149 miles through the “rolling hills” all the way to the Narrows between Brooklyn and Staten Island. Back up north at Lake Tear of the Clouds is fed by natural springs and runoff from the sheer steepness of Mt. Marcy and other streams winding down from the high peaks of the Adirondacks. Throughout the whole Adirondack mountain range, the watershed drains and dumps runoff from 3,400 foot peaks into the lowlands less than 410 feet above sea level. From Lake Tear of the Clouds [in the space of a mile] the river drops 1,000 feet down a deep trench to join the Opalescent River1. A bit more southward, the Mohawk River drains much of the runoff from central New York into the Hudson. In fact, over half of the Hudson Rivers water volume comes from the Mohawk, and without it, the Hudson would be practically non-existent. Further south of Albany tributaries flow westward to the Hudson from the Taconic Mountains and eastward from the Catskills. Still further south the tributaries for the Hudson begin to appear rectangular, almost following the trend of the faults and

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The Opalescent River is not a separate river from the Hudson but merely a section named by old Native American tribes.

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ridges that run northeast to southwest of the river while other tributaries join at right angles to the faults along the joint planes. At this point in its path, the river begins to occupy its original bedrock gorge formed millions of years ago, flowing over rock ledge rapids and the coarse cobble point bars2 that are very common from Mt. Marcy to Glens Falls, until it is partially blocked by mountains. It is here that the river makes a sharp turn to the east and flows through the Luzerne Mountain gorge in western New York and then emerges quickly onto glacial lake sediments deposited in the Pliocene Glaciation and forms a very broad, almost meandering path on the lowlands (supported by shale) for the nearly 130 miles to Newburgh. South of Newburgh the river cuts laterally through the hard crystalline rocks of the Hudson Highlands, shifting back and forth in its valley (almost like a cradle) until it emerges from the highlands and starts to exhibit fjord like characteristics within the towering rock walls around it. The river’s course then slightly curves in front of the Palisades escarpment3, which towers more than 328 feet above the water’s surface. At the Narrows the Hudson breaches its final barrier, the terminal moraine4 of the last glaciation (more on this in the Glacial History section) before it reaches the...
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