Finger Lakes
Geology Websites


-Introduction
-Brief Summary
-Formation of the _Finger Lakes
-Ithaca is Gorges
-Rocks of the _Finger Lakes
-Fossils in Ithaca
State Parks
-Treman
-Buttermilk Falls
-Taughannock
-Watkins Glen
 

Geology
Treman Gorge, also known as Enfield Glen, exposes approximately 400 feet of shale and sandstone along a moderately steep two-mile trail. Enfield Creek flows through the gorge over 12 discrete cascades, including the impressive, 115 ft. tall Lucifer Falls. The rocks of the Glen are assigned to the Ithaca Formation (in the lower part of the glen) and the Sonyea Group (upper part of the glen). These are Late Devonian in age (~370 million years old).

Of particular note in Enfield Glen is the alternation of shale and sandstone, perhaps originating from repeated shifts in sea level. Another interesting feature of area geology is "cross-bedding." Water waves cause sand particles to move along the bottom into ripples. Fossil ripples can be seen in many rocks in gorge walls, seen both in Enfield Glen and in nearby Watkins Glen. Cross-bedding is the pattern visible in cross sections along the cliffs, with the particles in the ripples tending to be in thin tilted layers.

Enfield Glen is also a good place to see joint-controlled gorge erosion. Visible in the lower parts of the gorge are traces of sediments that filled the valley during a previous glacial period. Look for beds of gravel in the stream banks.

Enfield Glen is actually two interwoven glens. Erosion from the creek, during a long period between two glacial visits, created the wide, deep sections with forested slopes. This section is called an interglacial gorge. During the shorter period following the last glacier, the more rugged portions of the gorge were carved in places where the stream's course detoured from its original path. These rugged sections are considered post-glacial gorges.

 
 

Beginning at the upper entrance, the first half-mile of Enfield Glen clearly displays the rugged, scenic effects of a post-glacial gorge. A beautiful stone pathway and steps lead to 115-feet-high Lucifer Falls, the highest in the park. Shortly past these falls, one can see a mile and a half through the deep, wooded interglacial gorge as it winds its way to the lower park.

Settlement
The Finger Lakes original inhabitants were the Cayuga Indians, who are one nation of the Six Nations of the Iroquois Confederacy. During the Revolutionary War, the Cayugas, allies of the British, were partially driven from the area by the Continental Army.

Settlers of European descent moved into the area during the 1790s and began farming. Many of the gorges had suitable sites for water mills. The Old Mill, located in Treman State Park, is a water-powered gristmill built in 1839 by Isaac Rumsey. Dam and mill foundations still exist in Buttermilk Falls State Park as well. Visitors to the upper portion of Treman State Park can walk through the mill and learn more about the history and mechanics of the mill.

In 1920, Robert and Laura Treman donated 387 acres in Enfield Glen to the state. In the 1920s, this land came under the management of the newly formed Finger Lakes State Parks Commission. Mr. Treman was the first chairman of the commission, and upon his death, the park was renamed in his honor. Today, the park's area totals over 1070 acres.

Sources:
Ithaca is Gorges by Warren Allmon and Robert Ross
Treman Falls State Park Brochure (available by visiting the State Park)

Note: PRI is not a part of the parks system. For more information about Robert H. Treman and other Finger Lakes state parks, please call (607) 273-3440.

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The Paleontological Research Institution
1259 Trumansburg Road
Ithaca, NY 14850 phone: 607-273-6623 fax: 607-273-6620
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