Friday, December 27, 2013

Patterson's Pellet, Minnewaska

So, a couple of days ago I went on a hike at Lake Minnewaska State Park in the Shawangunks.

One of the interesting geologic features at the park is a large glacial erratic called Patterson's Pellet.  It's a dramatic feature along Millbrook Mountain Carriage Road where it's perched atop the cliffs above Palmaghatt Ravine.

Here's a picture from the backside (I climbed a short distance down to a ledge).  Another foot or two to the left and the erratic would never have lasted atop the cliff.
Here's a bad self-portrait (I was hiking alone) by placing the camera on the ground (and into the Sun!).  As you can see, the rock is about 6 x 6 feet in size.

Here's a picture of Patterson's Pellet from the other side of Palmaghatt Ravine (a place called Kempton Ledge on Castle Point Carriage Road).

 So what's a glacial erratic?  I've posted about them in the past (like North Salem Balanced Rock).  They're simply rocks that were picked up by the glaciers during the last ice age.  When the glaciers melted some 12,000-10,000 years ago in the Hudson Valley, the rocks entrained within the ice simply dropped out.  Some, like North Salem Balanced Rock and Patterson's Pellet, dropped out in interesting ways.

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