The Hudson River Valley Geological History Landforms and Resources

Les Sirkin1 and Henry Bokuniewicz abstract The course and character ofthe Hudson reflect its underlying geological structure and the modifications of Pleistocene glaciations. Radiating drainage out oftheAdirondacks is transformed into abroad meanderingpattern in its tidal reaches below Troy. The river's course then cuts through the Hudson Highlands in a fjord-like gorge. A broad curving path takes the river along the Triassic, Palisades Escarpment following the juncture with the older rocks of Manhattan. The bedrock foundation of the Hudson was established in three mountain-building episodes beginning over a billion years ago. Most recently, the entire region has been glaciated and the course ofthe Hudson takes it through relic beds of glacial lakes and several ice margin deposits of glacial sediment. After the deglaciation of the region, estuarine conditions were established in the Hudson beginning about 12,000 years ago. The Hudson briefly crosses the coastal plain breaching the Wisconsin terminal moraine at the Narrows. On the continental shelf, the course of the ancestral Hudson is marked by the Hudson Submarine Canyon.

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