NAGT > Teaching Resources > Teaching in the Field > Field Trip Examples > Melting Glaciers, Gravel, and Groundwater

Melting Glaciers, Gravels, and Groundwater:

Paul T. Ryberg, Clarion University of Pennsylvania

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.

Location:

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.

Students could make measurements of thicknesses, measure paleocurrent directions, and/or make sketch maps of the quarry. You decide.

Summary:

A spectacular gravel quarry near Rotterdam Junction, New York along the north shore of the Mohawk River is an ideal place to discuss deglaciation history and the development of the ancestral Mohawk Delta building into former Lake Albany. The sedimentary petrology, sedimentary structures, and cementation history of the outwash gravel deposits can be discussed in detail at the outcrop. 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. The locality is easily accessible via Route 5 westbound, and is an excellent site for sample collection. I use specimens from this quarry as teaching tools in many of my geology classes.

Context:

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.

Goals:

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:

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