The story of how the land where Franklin County sits was formed can be told through the incredible rock formations you can actually see! The Franklin County Chamber of Commerce’s Visitor Guide has a wonderful and informative summary of the geology of Franklin County, written by Richard D. Little.
Richard Little works at Greenfield Community College, teaching and studying the geology of the Connecticut River Valley. He believes that Franklin County is the best place to study geology - and you can get out and see why for yourself! Included in the article are select places of interest to witness geological phenomenon and to have a scope of the formation of the lands around. Go explore these places and see for your own eyes the products of millions of years of erosion. Below is the excerpt from the Franklin County Visitor Guide which lists these spectacular places:
“Whether you are a visitor or a resident, I have selected a few spectacular places to start your explorations. Exact directions and information are found in the new “Exploring Franklin County” book or you can “Google” for directions.
A “START HERE” DESTINATION: Greenfield Community College Geology Path (by parking lot F). There is a Guide in the metal box. Rare armored mud ball specimens are on display.
GREAT VIEWPOINTS: Poet’s Seat, Greenfield; Mt. Sugarloaf, South Deerfield; High Ledges, Shelburne Falls
WATERFALLS: Listed according to height. Tannery Falls, Savoy; Turners Falls, Barton Cove (abandoned falls), Gill; Chapel Falls, Ashfield; Roaring Brook, Sunderland.
FOSSILS: Beneski Museum at Amherst College….not in Franklin County, but “world class”; Barton Cove’s historic footprint quarry, Gill; Note: insects and other invertebrates left lots of tracks, trails, and burrows in our Jurassic sedimentary rocks. While these are not spectacular like a reptile print, they are fossils and these pits, bumps, and scratches are commonly seen along the Mesozoic red rock bedding planes. Also, search riverbank rocks below the Turners Falls Dam.
LAVA: Highland Park, Greenfield; Rte. 2 Factory Hollow, Greenfield.
UNUSUAL AND DRAMATIC ROCK OUTCROPS: GCC Geology Path; Erving, Rte. 2; Brush Mt., Northfield; Shelburne Falls Potholes; Marble Natural Bridge, N. Adams; Highland Park’s Sachems Run Trail, Greenfield.
CAVES: Catamount, Colrain; Mt. Toby, Sunderland
GLACIAL FEATURES: Drumlins (Gill, drive through them along Turners Falls Rd.); Esker, Old Vernon Rd, off Rte. 142, Northfield; Glacial striations and roche moutonnee, Brush Mt., Northfield; Kettle Ponds: Green Pond & Lake Pleasant, Montague; Cranberry Pond, Sunderland.
RIVER TERRACES: Deerfield Main St.; W. Northfield rte. 142 – Caldwell Rd.
LAKE HITCHCOCK FEATURES: Sunderland Delta (“Delta Gravel Co.”) Rte. 116, Sunderland; Rte. 142, W. Northfield, delta and lake bottom deposits
RIVER TRIP: SEASONAL -- Heritage Riverboat Cruise from Northfield to Barton Cove and return. Sponsored by First Light Power Company. Seasonal. Check online for contact information.”
Check out the full history and guide to Franklin County geology here and enjoy learning and exploring new places right in your own backyard.
Picture Above: Salmon Falls and Glacial Potholes in Shelburne Falls, Massachusetts
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