Buttermilk Falls State Park Geology Tour


Ithaca, New York 14850, United States

Created By: South Hill Elementary School

Point of Interest Details

Piece of Cake

Can you count how many layers of rock there are? We couldn’t agree!

The sandstone here is thick as a mattress and light grey. The shale is as flakey as frosted flakes and it is darker grey. The rocks are as flat as a table. They form a messy pattern; sandstone, shale, sandstone, shale.

Can you believe that you are standing on what used to be the bottom of a fossil sea, 380 million years ago? Sediments eroded away from the Acadian Mountain Range and fell into the inland sea. The shale was formed into sedimentary rock from mud in deep, calm water. The sandstone was formed into sedimentary rock from sand in shallow, turbulent water. The inland sea covered most of New York when it was much closer to the equator.

The rocks remind us of a sandwich. The shale is like the pieces of the bread. The sandstone is the mayonnaise, lettuce, tomatoes and meat.

No matter what you call the layers, a cake or a sandwich, it’s important to remember that the layers were formed without any help from humans.

This point of interest is part of the tour: Buttermilk Falls State Park Geology Tour


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