These five day trips into Rochester’s geologic history, filled with drumlins, eskers, kames, kettles, fossils, house-sized boulders and a meromictic lake, will leave you awe-struck! Each fascinating destination is perfect for celebrating Earth Science Week (October 14-20, 2018).
1. Chimney Bluffs
The bluffs, rising 175 feet above Lake Ontario, are fragile drumlins, like all of the truncated drumlins along this section of shoreline. This area of New York State “contains one of the largest drumlin fields (12,000 km2) on the North America continent consisting of some 10,000 drumlins located between Lake Ontario in the north and the Finger Lakes.”
2. Mendon Ponds
The Devil’s Bathtub is one of New York’s rare meromictic lakes. It’s so deep, and so protected by the geologic features around it, that the layers in the water do not mix, or “turn over”. In 1969, Mendon Ponds Park was named to the National Registry of Natural Landmarks due to its geologic history and presence of significant kames, eskers, and kettles.
3. Mount Hope Cemetery
Take the Geology Tour and you’ll learn about ice age land-forms (kames, moraines, kettles), the type of stones that make up gravestones, mausoleums and the ground you’re standing on, and residents who influenced the sciences during their time above ground. You’ll learn to look for every minute detail as evidence in our big history!
4. Little Rock City
“Little Rock City was not formed by glaciers, but through mountain building events known as orogenies. As sediment from surrounding areas was deposited over Rock City State Forest, the base for Little Rock City was formed. As hundreds of years passed, gravity erosion of the landscape began to separate non-resistant rock layers from those which were highly resistant, leaving us with the large boulders that are present today.”
5. Penn Dixie Fossil Park
and Nature Reserve
Visitors can find and collect 380 million year-old animal and plant fossils that once flourished in an ancient tropical sea that covered WNY. In 2011, The Geological Society of America ranked Penn Dixie as the No. 1 fossil park in the country.
Looking for more places to explore Rochester’s fascinating geologic history?
- Niagara Falls
- The Five Pinnacle Hills (Mount Hope, Highland, Pinnacle Hill, Cobb’s Hill, and Oak Hill, which is now the University of Rochester campus. Yes, Oak Hill Country Club was located there next to the river from 1901-1921 before moving to Pittsford.)
- Letchworth State Park
- Museum of the Earth
- MacKay Wildlife Preserve
- Finger Lakes
- Green Lakes
- Eternal Flame
- Rochester Museum & Science Center
- Buffalo Museum of Science
Learn more about our geologic history and geoscience
- Library Book: Roadside Geology of Western New York
- Library Books: Various publications by Herman Fairchild
- Rochester Academy of Science
- Buffalo Geological Society
- New York State Geological Association + Field Trip Guidebooks
- The Geological Society of America
- American Geosciences Institute
- Glacial Geology of Western New York
- Geology of New York State
- Geologic units in Monroe County, New York
- Geological History and Glacial Formations of the Finger Lakes
- Paleontology and Stratigraphy of the Rochester, New York, Area
- Genesee Valley Glacial and Postglacial Geology from 50,000 Years Ago to the Present: A Selective Annotated Review
- Western NY Geology: The Land Before Time
- 1902 Bulletin of this United States Geological Survey
- Geology of the Erie Canal, Rochester Gorge, and Eastern Monroe County, New York State – In the Footsteps of Amos Eaton and James Hall
Venture into one of these New York State Parks within a 2-hour drive of Rochester and discover what makes them each unique!
Where are your favorite geo-interesting spots around Rochester?
Share with us in the comments. Your insight and experience is invaluable!