Taughannock Rockfall

April 11, 2005


Provided by: Roger Hopkins, Ruth's Waterfalls
Summary authors & editors: Roger Hopkins

Erosion in the numerous gorges in the Finger Lakes region near Ithaca, NY, is not a grain-by-grain process. Instead, water seeps into the fractures of the extensive joint system found in the soft shales throughout the area, and then ice breaks away large blocks all at once. Much of the resulting rock debris is carried away by spring floods. This three-frame animation, taken in 2001 and 2002, shows Taughannock Falls in Tompkins County, New York. Frames 1 and 2 are 15 months apart; frames 2 and 3 are only 5 days apart. The inset is to give you an idea of the scale.

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