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Old Rocks and New Mountains: Natural History of the Adirondacks Glenn A. Richard.

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Presentation on theme: "Old Rocks and New Mountains: Natural History of the Adirondacks Glenn A. Richard."— Presentation transcript:

1 Old Rocks and New Mountains: Natural History of the Adirondacks Glenn A. Richard

2 Relief Map of Adirondacks The Adirondacks are a dome of old rock (1.1 billion years), surrounded by much younger rock (less than 600 million years)

3 Map of Streams and Lakes Surface water elevations are primarily controlled by underlying bedrock elevations, rather than the type of bedrock. Radial drainage pattern: Streams flow primarily outward from the center toward the edge. However, drainage in the Adirondacks is also controlled by faults.

4 Roads Roadless areas are undeveloped. ~43% of 6 million acre Adirondack Park (created in 1892) is owned by the state and belongs to the Forest Preserve (created in 1885).

5 Mount Marcy, highest point in New York (5344’), from Haystack. Predominant rock type is metanorthosite (Mineralogy: mostly blue labradorite feldpar (high in Ca, some Na, low in K), with some pyroxene).

6 Shore of Lake Champlain (elevation 95 feet) from eastern Adirondacks. Lowest elevation in Adirondacks.

7 Haystack from Marcy – July 2, Rugged topography caused by faulting, uplifting, erosion by water and glacial ice.

8 Gothics – September 2, Note steep rockslides

9 Picea rubens and Abies balsamea just below tree line on Haystack, third highest peak in the state at 4960’.

10 Cross section of Earth Layers of the Earth: Inner Core Outer Core Mantle Crust Lithosphere divided into tectonic plates. Plates are in motion – several centimeters per year – PLATE TECTONICS Orogeny: Collision of plates can build mountains (Example: Himalayas now rising due to current collision of Indian and Asian plates). Crust and very upper mantle are hard rock, called lithosphere. Diagram by Keelin Murphy

11 Plate Boundaries Divergent: East Pacific Rise Convergent: West Coast of South America -Andes forming here Transform: San Andreas Fault Diagram by Keelin Murphy

12 Fossil stromatolite (blue-green alga, 1.3 bya) near Balmat in western Adirondacks. From Pre-Grenville Ocean prior to Grenville Orogeny. 1.3 Billion Years Ago: Pre-Grenville Ocean

13 Metanorthosite (intruded about 1.15 bya) with labradorite crystal on Noonmark. Smaller amounts of pyroxene are present. Grenville Orogeny metamorphosed the rock about 1.1 bya while it formed the Grenville Supercontinent and the Grenville Mountains. 1.1 Billion Years Ago: Grenville Orogeny

14 Boudinage in migmatite, northwestern Adirondacks formed during Grenville Orogeny 1.1 bya

15 Lake Placid from Whiteface. Shape is controlled by a group of faults that formed about 650 million years ago, when Grenville Supercontinent split up. 650 Million Years Ago: Grenville Supercontinent Breaks Up

16 Colden, Avalanche Pass, Algonquin, Indian Pass, Wallface. Passes are valleys formed along faults.

17 Lake Placid from Whiteface. Shape is controlled by some of the faults that formed about 650 million years ago. Faulting helps to create valleys and basins for streams and lakes.

18 Diabase dike (650 mya) in western Adirondacks intruded during breakup of Grenville supercontinent.

19 Ripple marks on Potsdam Sandstone (500 mya), Ausable Chasm display. Formed in warm shallow sea. Potsdam sandstone probably covered Adirondacks and was eroded from central portions after later uplift. 500 Million Years Ago: A Warm Shallow Sea

20 Great Range from Noonmark – Adirondacks rising since 60 to 15 million years ago for uncertain reasons. Some have attributed uplift to a hot spot, but there is not much evidence for that. Beginning 60 to 15 Million Years Ago: Adirondack Mountains Form

21 Glacial erratic near Debar Mountain in northern Adirondacks Beginning 1.6 Million Years Ago: Continental and Alpine Glaciation

22 Potsdam Sandstone left by ice sheet on Poke-O-Moonshine

23 Au Sable Chasm with Potsdam Sandstone. Au Sable River has cut into the sandstone as uplift occurs.

24 Heart Lake from Mount Jo. Some consider it to be a glacial kettle.

25 Snow on Saint Regis Mountain with fall color at lower elevations, shows climate variation with elevation.

26 Mountain-ash on Saint Regis Mountain, October 8, 2000

27 Red oak at Lake Champlain shore. Soil in Adirondacks is mostly acid. Vegetation reflects geology

28 Common juniper at Lake Champlain shoreline grows well in thin soil.

29 Maidenhair spleenwort - Asplenium trichomanes fern near Lake Champlain shoreline favors habitats where calcite is present. ** Calcite is uncommon in Adirondacks **

30 Walking fern near Lake Champlain shoreline favors habitats where calcite is present.

31 Herb Robert near Lake Champlain shoreline favors habitats where calcite is present.

32 Braun’s holly fern near Cascade Lakes favors habitats where calcite is present.

33 Cystopteris bulbifera at Cascade Lakes favors habitats where calcite is present.

34 Pickerelweed in marsh at Lake Champlain shoreline

35 Cotton grass on floating bog mat at Sunday Pond. Peat is acidic and water is low in oxygen and dissolved nutrients

36 Insectivorous pitcher plant on Sunday Pond bog mat. Bog water is low in nitrates.

37 Pitcher plant flower on Sunday Pond bog mat

38 Bog laurel on Sunday Pond bog mat prefers wet acid conditions.

39 Insectivorous round-leaved sundew on Sunday Pond bog mat

40 Labrador tea on Sunday Pond bog mat favors wet acid conditions.

41 Black spruce on Sunday Pond bog mat

42 Larch on Sunday Pond bog mat

43 Bladderwort in bog at Paul Smith’s is insectivorous.

44 Snow on bog mat at Paul Smith’s

45 Webb-Royce Swamp (TNC property near Westport)

46 Broad-leaved cattail at Webb-Royce Swamp

47 Rubus odoratus purple flowering raspberry) on Poke-O-Moonshine

48 Adiantum pedatum (maidenhair fern) on Poke-O-Moonshine

49 Cornus canadensis (bunchberry) on Nun-Da-Gao Ridge On July 2, 2000 is in same genus as dogwoods.

50 Cornus canadensis on Crane Mountain On August 17, 2000

51 Polypodium virginianum in the Jay range

52 Trillium erectum near Scarface

53 Altona Flat Rock with Potsdam Sandstone – Pine barrens on very thin soil. Soil washed away by catastrophic flood during glacial times.

54 Clintonville Pine Barrens on sandy glacial outwash

55 State-rare Ceanothus herbaceus in Clintonville Pine Barrens

56 Pteridium aquilinum in Clintonville Pine Barrens grows well in dry, sandy, acidic soil.

57 Bearberry in Clintonville Pine Barrens gows well in dry, sandy, acidic soil.

58 Balsam fir in boreal forest on Crane Mountain. Cones point upward.

59 Red spruce in boreal forest Nun-Da-Gao Ridge. Cones point downward.

60 Haystack Summit (4960’) – Very thin soil and cool conditions above treeline support alpine plant community.

61 Deer’s hair sedge on Haystack Summit

62 Black crowberry (green) and mountain bilberry (red) on Noonmark in October

63 Jay Range composed of gabbroic metanothosite

64 In Summary: 1.3 Billion Years Ago – Warm shallow pre-Grenville Sea 1.1 Billion Years Ago - Grenville Orogeny 650 Million Years Ago – Grenville Supercontinent breaks up 500 Million Years Ago – Warm shallow sea, Postdam Sandstone 60 to 15 Million Years Ago – Adirondacks begin to rise 1.6 Million Years Ago – Ice Ages begin

65 Some books: Rocks And Routes of the North Country – Bradford VanDiver Geology of New York: A Simplified Account – University of the State of New York Roadside Geology of New York - Bradford VanDiver Bogs of the Northeast – Charles W. Johnson A Map: New York State Geologic Highway Map – University of the State of New York

66 Lake Placid from Whiteface in winter


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