New York’s Helderberg Escarpment Waterfalls

February 22, 2022


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Photographer: Thomas McGuire   

Summary Author: Thomas McGuire 

The Helderberg Escarpment of New York State is located where sedimentary rock layers dip about 1° to the south, but the land surface dips to the north. This has created a broad, shallow cuesta that ends at a steep north-facing slope more than 200 meters (700 ft) high. See diagram.

Small north-flowing streams fall off the Manlius-Coymans Limestone edge of the Allegheny Plateau at John Boyd Thatcher State Park, 15 miles (24 km) southwest of Albany, New York. Rock formations are often named for the rock type (here, it’s limestone), and the geographic location where the rock unit is characteristically exposed. A walking path leads beneath both waterfalls. In the winter, icicles formed from the spray of the falls drape over the abrupt cliff. Photo taken on June 24, 2021.   

Photo details: SONY DSC-HX80 camera; 4.1mm; f3.5; 1/320 second exposure.