Geology Field Trips


Join Professor Teodosia Manecan on a variety of field trips this semester to Coney Island Beach, Orchard Beach, Inwood, Palisdades, Staten Island, Staten Island Beach, Cortland, Peekskill, Poughkeepsie, Beacon, Cold Spring, Franklin and Sterling. Geology field trips are open to all hunter faculty, staff, and students.


Inwood Marble and Mahattan Schist in Isham and Inwood Parks

Inwood Hill and Isham Parks are on the northern end of Manhattan Island, and both are hosts to many easily accessible outcrops of Taconic metamorphic rocks along and near the parks trails. In Isham Park is outcropping an excellent and large sequence of Inwood Marble Formation. Students can observe a great variety of texture, structure, mineral composition of marble as well as of other rocks associated with marble, quartzite, and micaschist schlieres and boudines. The sand around the base of the outcrop consists almost entirely of gray dolomite crystals.

Inwood Park is an impressive forest park .The steep hillsides along the western edge of Inwood Park are host to large outcrops of the Manhattan Formation which consists of silver gray, garnet schist and dark-colored amphibolites boudines. Some places the surface of the hard Manhattan schist preserves relicts of Ice Age: striation, grooves and erratic boulders. We’ll examine the outcropping rocks along the hill’s trail. Also we’ll observe and record pictures of Ice Age glacial erosion

Palisades Diabase

The Palisades are the impressive cliffs that line the western margin of the Hudson River from Jersey City to the south, to northward of the Tappan Zee Bridge. These cliffs exhibit outcrops of Early Jurassic Palisades diabase sill, and its contact and reaction with the Triassic Newark Basin Stockton Formation. We’ll walk the Washington Bridge Trail to Fort Lee and we’ll explore some outcrops of the Southern unit of Palisades’ diabase sill and its country rocks.

Staten Island Serpentinite and Glacial Moraine and Beach

Staten Island bedrock geology can be well correlated with Eastern NJ Newark Basin geology on the west side- Triassic and the early Middle Jurassic, in the central NE can be correlated with Manhattan Prong and the Eastern and SW part  belongs to coastal plain Cretaceous- Pleistocene  similar with Long Island Geology. We’ll explore the central NE outcrop of serpentinite, which are dramatic relicts of the Ordovician Taconic Suture Zone, of originally dismembered ophiolite from the subsiding oceanic lithosphere, marking the place where the old North America crushed a Volcanic Island Arc during Taconic Orogeny. We’ll explore also the SW of Staten Island, identify and collect rounded gravels from the polygene glacial relicts and from the Pleistocene moraine in Conference House Park and Beach area.

Franklin and Sterling, NJ

The Middle Proterozoic Reading Prong is part of Grenvilian Mountain Belt, contemporary with the Hudson Highlands and it is outcropping Franklin Marble affected by intense hydrothermal metalogenesis, which in the area of Sterling Hill and Franklin village exhibits several ore bodies. All these high temperature and pressure more the 1,15 billion years old formation are uplifted and eroded during Mesozoic an Cenozoic, including Ice Age and are exposed at the surface.

According the museum information “In the area of the Franklin and Sterling Hill mines, 357 types of minerals are known to occur; these make up approximately 10% of the minerals known to science. Thirty-five of these minerals have not been found anywhere else. Ninety-one of the minerals have fluorescence properties” The Franklin Mineral Museum's preserves the mineral wealth, geology, knowledge, and history of "the greatest mineral locality on earth."

Sterling Hill Mine has an outstanding Florescent Minerals Collection, and a unique Mine Museum, where we’ll visit directly the mine interior which opening impressive amount of Fluorescent minerals part of the Zinc ore body.

Central Park

Central Park is rectangular in outline. It spans two and a half miles in length between 59th and 110th Streets and one-half mile in width between Fifth Avenue and Central Park West (Eighth Avenue). It covers roughly 840 acres in the midst of New York City, perhaps the most heavily engineered area in the world. Central Park is a place where we can read directly the geologic history of the Manhattan Island, with outcrops well and fresh preserved and well framed by the park and garden architecture.

When we look on a Central Park map we can observe the perfect distribution of rock outcrops,  gardens and lakes; this give us the possibility to observe and study a complete column of the Manhattan Formations from 59th street to 108th street between Central Park west (8th Ave ) and  5th Ave.

The great number of outcrops and the diversity of outcropping rocks  need that the geologic trip in Central Park to be divided in 3 parts  based on particularities of rock assemblages, their texture structure, intensity of metamorphism;

  1. Central Park South between 59th street and  66th street
  2. Central Park Central between 66th and 77th street
  3. Central Park North between 77th street and 108th street

We’ll start the trip in the Central Park North, and end it at Columbus Circle.

Cortland and Peekskill

Cortland ultramafic complex is a large body of differentiated mafic and ultramafic rocks, metamorphosed during Acadian orogeny, and also intruded by Acadian Peekskill granite. We’ll explore at Cortland petrography aspects of mafic and ultramafic rocks including a hornblende rich rock called cortlandite. At Peekskill we’ll observe the contact of granite with ultramafic complex as well as some inclusions of ultra mafic rocks in the granite body. We’ll observe also some aspects of the granite petrography, including sheered phylonite along the faults affecting the granite body.

Orchard Beach

Hartland Formation is outcropping on the shore area of Pelham Park. Beautiful textures of migmatite, pegmatite, and milky quartz veins are exposed on the Hartland metamorphic rocks dominated by biotite gneiss and amphibolite. The surface of the metamorphic rocks is in some area outcropping as flat eroded, and still preserves glacial erosion marks, mostly striations. Also numerous glacial erratic boulders have been transported and deposited on Twin Islands from very different places of Westchester county or Connecticut state areas; also we can see roch moutone sometimes partially covered by sea water, appearing as small islands.  The most recent anthropogenic event is a crescent beach, the beautiful Orchard Beach, perched here on the biotite gneiss with sand barged from Rockaway area in the years after the second war. We’ll visit the Orchard Beach, Twin Island, and the Two Trees Island.  

Poughkeepsie-Beacon-Cold Spring

Hudson Highlads are made of Precambrian Grenville gneiss, amphibolite, with veins of pegmatite, which are outcropping at both sides of Hudson River, North of Peekskill to South of Beacon. North of Beacon Hudson Highlands turns to Hudson Lowland covered by Taconic rocks, metamorphic to sedimentary transition, starting from S to N with phyllite, then slate, and at Poughkeepsie meta-graywackie and contorted turbidites.

At Cold Spring we’ll visit the Little Stony Point and the Hudson Highlands Gneiss Quarry. We’ll observe and collect samples of the Hudson Highland Gneiss, Pegmatite and amphibolite gneiss.

At Beacon we’ll observe low grade metamorphic Taconic rocks and at Poughkeepsie we’ll observe contorted turbidite, the parent rock of Taconic phyllite, micaschist and gneiss.




However, participants will be responsible for their own transportation costs, meals, and museum admission fees. All sites can be reached by public transportation or by MetroNorth train, with the exception of the Franklin and Sterling trip. Participants will split the costs for the vehicle rental and gasoline for the Franklin and Sterling field trip.




Suggested equipment list:

  • field notebook
  • plastic bags to collect samples
  • sharpies
  • camera
  • GPS
  • compass
  • geology hammer
  • shovel

Note: These items are required if you are enrolled in a geology course, but optional if you are not enrolled.



Professor Teodosia Manecan is an Instructor in the Department of Geography at Hunter College.