Cast of Geologists

The history of geological research at Trenton Falls, New York extends back over two centuries nearly to the signing of the Declaration of Independence.

View from under ledge of Upper High Falls  Photograph by Carlton E. Brett
View from under ledge of Upper High Falls, photograph by Carlton E. Brett
West Canada Creek, the main southwest drainage basin of the Adirondack Mountains was and is a primary tributary of the Mohawk River. The West Canada Creek Valley provided a natural route from the Mohawk River to Lake Ontario to the north via a drainage divide and the Black River, or Riviere Aux Sables as it was once called. Although the trail routed around the cascades, the lore of Kuyahoora drew attention from both the Haudenosaunee or Iroquois tribes as well as early settlers in the region. Although no formal record of geologic investigation exists prior to the early 1800's, the inference is well-established that the prominence of this landmark and curiosities surrounding the falls drew visits from surveyors and other agents of both European and American interests.

The first record of geological investigation of the Mohawk Valley region dates back to the years 1793-1796, and the first record of geological investigation of Trenton Falls as recorded by John Sherman was performed by Amos Eaton during his Survey of the Erie Canal District in the early 1820's. Since that time, Trenton Falls has sparked the interest of hundreds of geologists, and served as an outdoor laboratory for the education of students.

In order to introduce the history of research at Trenton Falls, intervals of time have been delineated. These time periods highlight advances in the study and application of geological concepts, as well as the geologists who dedicated themselves to studying various aspects of Trenton geology.