Our knowledge of the geology of the State is derived from the survey made under State authority
from 1836 to 1843, and from the investigations of several eminent geologists who have examined
Rocks.—The geological formations of the State include the igneous or primary rocks, and all
the strata lying between them and the coal measures of Penn. The classification adopted by the
State geologists, embracing all the rocks above the primary, is known as the “New York system/’
the rocks being analogous to the Silurian and Devonian system of the European geologists. The
igneous or primary rocks, including granite, gneiss, and other varieties destitute' of organic
remains, occupy the greater part of the mountainous region in the n. e. part of the State, the
Highlands upon the Hudson, and a considerable portion of the country below, including Man¬
hattan Island. Portions of these rocks are imperfectly stratified, and are generally found in
broken and disrupted masses with the strata highly inclined. The remaining portions of the State
are occupied by series of stratified rocks, generally extending e. and w. and varying in thickness
from a few inches to several hundred feet. The strata overlie each other, and have a slight dip
toward the s., so that a person in traveling from the n. border of the State to the Penn, line would
successively pass over the exposed edges of the whole series. Toward the e. these strata all are
bent, and appear to be arranged around the primitive region in the same order in which they lie
elsewhere. The highest of the series of rocks found in the State forms the floor of the coal
measures; so that it is perfectly futile to search for coal within the limits of the State. The rocks
are distinguished by their. color, quality, and situation, and by the fossils which they contain.
In many instances a stratum disappears entirely, and in others strata of several hundred feet in
thickness in one place are but a few feet thick in another. In places where many strata are
wanting and two rocks usually widely separated are found, in contact, the geologist is obliged to
depend entirely upon the fossils which they contain to determine their classification.2
1854,—Vol. I, Soils and Climate; Vol. II, Analysis and Results
of Experiments; Vols. Ill and IV, Fruits; Vol. V, Insects.
The Paleontological Department was assigned to T. A. Conrad,
in 1837.- He resigned in 1843, and was .succeeded by Prof. Jas.
Hall. The Report, to consist of 5 vols., is in process of publica¬
tion. Two vols. are already issued; and the third is in press.
A geological map, accompanying the Reports, is issued with
2 The following is the classification of the New York system,
with the position which the different strata occupy in the classi¬
fication of English geologists. The order of the arrangement
is from below upward:—
Primitive or Igneous Rocks.
Black River Limestone. - —
Hudson River Group, Lorraine Shales.
Oneida Conglomerate, Shawangunk Grit.
Niagara Group, Coraline Limestone in the east.
Onondaga Sal’t Group.-; Green Shales.
Delthyris Shaly Limestone.
Upper Pentamerus Limestone.
Cauda Galli Grit.
Hamilton Group.-; Encrinal Limestone.
Group.-; Gardeau Flag Stones,
Old Red Sandstone.
Conglomerate of the Coal Measures.
In 1799, Dr. Samuel L. Mitchill, under the auspices of the
“ Society for Promoting Agriculture, Arts, and Manufactures,”
published an essay upon the rocks in the State. While the Erie
Canal was in process of construction, Stephen Van Rensselaer
employed Prof. Amos Eaton to prepare an account of the rocks
along the canal route. This was published in 1824. Prof. Eaton's
work was one of great merit; and to him we are indebted for the
first accurate knowledge ever obtained of the general system of
rocks in the State.
On the 15th of April, 1836, an act was passed authorizing a
geological survey of the State. The State was divided into four
districts, to each of which were appointed a geologist and an
assistant. A zoologist, botanist, mineralogist, and paleontologist
were appointed for the whole State.
The First District included the counties of Albany, Columbia,
Delaware, Dutchess, Greene, Kings, New York, Orange, Putnam,
Queens, Rensselaer, Richmond, Rockland, Saratoga, Schenectady,
Schoharie, Suffolk, Sullivan, Ulster, Washington, and West¬
chester. Wm. W. Mather was appointed Principal Geologist,
and Caleb Briggs, J. Lang Cassels, and Seymour, Assistants.
The Report, in 1 vol. 4to, was published in 1843.
The Second District, consisting of the counties of Clinton, Es¬
sex, Franklin, Jefferson, St. Lawrence, and Warren, was placed
under the charge of Dr. Ebenezer Emmons, Principal, and Jas.
Hall and E. Emmons, jr., Assistants. The Report, ini vol., was
published in 1842.
The Third District, consisting of the counties of Broome,
Cayuga, Chenango, Cortland, Fulton, Herkimer, Lewis, Madison,
Montgomery, Oneida, Onondaga, Oswego, Otsego, Tioga, and the
e. half of Tompkins, was placed under charge of Lardner Van
Uxem, Principal, and Jas. Eights and E. S. Can, Assistants. The
Report, in 1 vol., was published in 1842.
The Fourth District, consisting of the counties of Allegany,
Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Chemung, Erie, Genesee, Livingston,
Monroe, Niagara, Ontario, Orleans, Seneca, Steuben, the w. half
of Tompkins, Wayne, Wyoming, and Yates, was assigned to Jas.
Hall, Principal, and J. W. Boyd and E. N. Horsford, Assistants.
The Report was published in 1 vol. in 1843.
The Mineralogical Department was assigned to Dr. Lewis C.
Beck, Principal, and Wm. Horton and L. D. Gale, Assistants.
The Report, in 1 vol., was published in 1842.
The Zoological Department was assigned to Dr. Jas. E. De Kay,
Principal, and John W. Hill, Draftsman. The Report, in 5 vols.,
was published in 1842-43:—Vol. I, Mammalia, with General In¬
troduction by Gov. Seward; Vol. II, Ornithology; Vols. Ill and
IV, Reptiles and Fishes; Vol. V, Mollusca and Crustacea.
The Botanical Department was assigned to Dr. John Torry.
The Report, in 2 vols., was published in 1843.
The Agricultural Department was assigned to Dr. Ebenezer
The Report, in 5 vols., was published from 1846 to