Geologic Setting

Trenton Falls is located in West Canada Creek Valley in north central New York State, approximately 15 miles north of Utica. This tributary of the Mohawk River drains much of the southwestern Adirondack Mountains. In the region just south of the village of Prospect, and just to the north of the village of Trenton Falls, West Canada Creek makes a ninety-degree direction change from its westerly course out of the southern Adirondacks to a more southerly flow. It is in this region of the drainage that West Canada Creek descends through an impressive gorge over a series of spectacular waterfalls and cascades with a combined drop of over 300 feet (see aerial photograph at right). While each of the major waterfalls has been given its own name, collectively they are referred to as Trenton Falls after the nearby village of Trenton Falls, New York.

aerial photo
Aerial photograph of Trenton Falls, by Paul Keesler
The ensuing categories within this subheading: Modern Geographic Setting, Paleogeographic Setting, Paleoenvironmental Setting, Geologic Time Scale and Tectonic Setting, provide some geographic and geologic background information. It addresses the location of Trenton Falls relative to major geologic features of today and in the Ordovician Period when the rocks were deposited. We know that today Trenton Falls is located in a stable intracratonic region, but during the Ordovician this area was located on a tectonically unstable cratonic margin.