Shawangunk Ridge

November 02, 2004


Provided and copyright by: Russell Agostaro, Newburgh Enlarged City School District
Summary authors & editors: Russell Agostaro

The photo above of Shawangunk Ridge was taken in January 2004 from Minnewaska State Park, New York. The Shawangunk Mountains (part of the Appalachian Ridge) are located between the Catskill Mountains and the Hudson River in upstate New York. About 27,000 years ago, glaciers moved down the Hudson Valley and engulfed the “Gunks” in over 4,500 ft (1.433 m) of ice (twice the height of the range). This mountain range consists predominately of rounded quartz pebble conglomerate (Middle Silurian). Exposed surfaces do not weather but rather the matrix dissolves extremely slowly leaving pebbles behind. The slowness of weathering and/or solution means that very little mineral matter is contributed to soil formation. Pitch pines dominate and thrive on these exposed cliffs.

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