Carpenter Falls and Differential Weathering

November 07, 2003

Falls3

Referred by: Peter Saracino, Marcus Whitman High School, Rushville, N.Y.
Summary authors & editors: Peter Saracino

Located in the Finger Lakes region of upstate New York, Carpenter Falls is a wonderful study in differential weathering. The cataract is one of several beautiful waterfalls that can be found along Bear Swamp creek as it journeys to Skaneateles Lake. The creek flows over a shelf of Tully Limestone before plummeting straight down for 85 feet (26 m) -- this limestone is more resilient than the underlying shale. Fast-flowing water, combined with the action of ice, has created a large recess behind the falls. Eventually, the limestone shelf will break under its own weight, causing the falls to “walk” back upstream.

Of interest to note is the fact that the 13th President of the United State, Millard Fillmore, may have enjoyed the beautiful serenity of this place. He was born only a few miles down the road from Carpenter Falls.

Steve Duprey contributed to this caption.

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