Melting Glaciers, Gravels, and Groundwater:
Intended Audience:An excellent locality for any geology class field trip, especially physical geology, historical geology, stratigraphy, sedimentary petrology, glacial geology, and of course, hydrogeology.
Gravel quarry five miles west of Schenectady, New York, along the Mohawk River (see Instructor's Notes (Microsoft Word 27kB Jun23 05) for specific driving directions.
A spectacular gravel quarry five miles west of Schenectady New York along the Mohawk River is an ideal place to discuss deglaciation history and the development of the ancestral Mohawk Delta building into former Lake Albany, as well as the sedimentary petrology of the outwash gravels. The 3-D exposures of partially-cemented, cross-bedded gravels are representative of the surficial unconfined aquifer system which provides groundwater to many communities in the Schenectady area.
This field trip locality is an excellent location for the multi-disciplinary examination of glacial geology, deglaciation history, sedimentation/stratigraphy, sedimentary petrology, sedimentary structures, diagenesis and cementation history, and unconfined surficial aquifer characteristics. Students could make measurements of thicknesses, measure paleocurrent directions, and/or make sketch maps of the quarry. You decide.
Notes and Tips:
I have had no problem with permission to access the quarry, as it is presently inactive. The quarry does not require hardhats, however one must be careful on the gravel slopes and especially under a few prominent overhangs. Many of the exposures are loose and friable, the calcite cemented pebbles are easily separated. Sample collecting is encouraged, take excellent specimens back home to your labs.
Assessment and Evaluation:
Students should be able to answer the questions provided in the Instructor's Notes (download below).
Materials and Handouts:
- Activity Description/Assignment ( 4.7MB Jun23 05) - zipped folder with instructor's notes, directions to the site, questions to ask students at the site, and a collection of images which include photos from the site and maps and stratigraphic sections for the site.
- Instructor's Notes (Microsoft Word 27kB Jun23 05) - individual Word doc with directions to the site and questions to ask the students at the site.