Palisades Interstate Park
The Palisades Interstate Park Commission was created in 1900 by the states of New York and New Jersey to prevent the defacement of the famous Palisades of the Hudson by a handful of large stone quarries then in operation. The land in the NJ Section, located in northeastern Bergen County, was the first that the Commission acquired with the new park formally dedicated in 1909. Before the creation of the park, all of the Palisades had been in private hands, the lower portion, along the river, consisting mostly of riverfront villages, the cliff top mostly either wood lots or the site of large summer estates.
Today the NJ Section of Palisades Interstate Park consists of more than 100,000 acres of parklands and historic sites including about 2,500 acres of wild Hudson River shorefront and uplands along the Hudson River from Fort Lee to the New Jersey state line, where it continues into New York State.
The Palisades is a unique geological formation offering stunning views of Manhattan and the Hudson River, not to mention its own imposing splendor. Within this land you will find 30 miles of hiking trails, riverfront picnic areas, a scenic riverside drive, a cliff-top Parkway, scenic overlooks, two public boat basis, a boat launching ramp, a nature sanctuary, historic sites, and mile after mile of rugged woodlands and vistas just minutes from midtown Manhattan.
The Palisades have been designated a National Natural Landmark, the Palisades Interstate Park a National Historic Landmark. Both the Long Path and the Shore Trail have been designated National Recreation Trails.
190,000,000 Years Ago
- At this time, all of the world's landmasses are combined in one big "super-continent" scientists call Pangea. As tectonics, or earth-shaping forces slowly cause Pangea to break up into the continents we know today, large quantities of molten rock, or magma, are released from deep within the earth. Here, where the Palisades sill one day stand, such a flow of magma is released, but it does not reach the surface of the earth. Instead, it flows horizontally between layers of soft sandstone and shale, as though it is the middle of a gigantic sandwich. Far above this river of boiling hot, liquid rock, dinosaurs roam the surface of Pangea.
- As millions of years pass, the molten rock, still beneath the surface, cools and hardens into a huge sill, hundreds of feet tall, several miles wide, fifty miles long. The rock in this sill, which scientists call diabase, is much harder than the sandstones and shales between which it originally flowed.
- As Pangea continues to break apart, this whole region - the future New York-New Jersey area - including the diabase sill, gets shifted upward to the east about 17 degrees. Pangea, over the course of millions of years, will keep drifting apart, until its "pieces" begin to take the size and position of the continents we know today.
65,000,000 Years Ago
- Erosion washes away the land on the surface and exposes more and more of the diabase sill, especially along its eastern ridge, where it had been lifted upward millions of years ago.
- Thousands of miles away, in what is today called the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico, a large meteor or comet smashes into the earth. (Many scientists speculate that the cloud of dust it raised caused a "global winter," spelling the doom of most dinosaurs. Mammals, up to now a relatively unimportant group of animals, begin to become the dominant large life form on earth.)
8,000,000 Years Ago
- Around this time, it is believed, the first ancestors of human beings appear in what is today Africa.
1,000,000 Years Ago
- Before this time, a sub-tropical climate extended across most of what we call North America. Now, however, the earth undergoes a climate change, and temperatures fluctuate. A series of ice ages results, during which glaciers - massive sheets of ice, sometimes thousands of feet thick - grind slowly over the earth's surface from the north. When temperatures again warm, these sheets melt again, a cyclical process the repeats itself several times, each cycle taking many thousands of years.
- As they advance southward, the ice sheets scrap the terrain over which they pass, and in the process they help reveal large sections of the eastern edge of the diabase sill that forms what we call the Palisades today.
15,000 Years Ago
- The last of the glaciers begins to retreat (melt back), leaving the Palisades much as they appear today, but without the accumulated fallen rock, known as talus, beneath the cliffs
- As the glacier retreats, human beings for the first time appear in this area. They are believed to be descended from people who first crossed into North America from Asia, over a land bridge to present day Alaska, the across the North American continent to the Atlantic.
Reference: Park Sign near Lookout Inn
- At the coordinates, look to the left (north) and describe what you see - sill or talus, both? How do you think this will look 20,000 years from now?
- At the coordinates, look to the right (south) and describe what you see - sill or talus, both? How do you think this will look 20,000 years from now?
- This viewpoint used to be along a section of state highway built in 1926 which was originally the northbound stretch of the state highway that connected New York and New Jersey along the western Hudson. Who was the State Highway Engineer?
- Where is Pierson's Perch?
- Take a picture with GPS in front of the view and post it with your log. (Optional)
Note: All answers should be emailed to the cache owner.