(with selected major geologic events from southeastern New York and vicinity)



Periods (Epochs)

Years (Ma)

Selected Major Events

Holocene 0.1 Rising sea forms Hudson Estuary, Long Island Sound, Great South Bay, other bays and harbors on Long Island.
Barrier islands form and migrate landward as sea level rises.
Pleistocene 1.6 Melting of last glaciers forms large lakes.
Drainage from Great Lakes overflows into Mohawk River and Hudson Valley.
Dam at The Narrows suddenly breached and  flood waters erode Hudson shelf valley to form Hudson Canyon.
Protracted continental glaciation with five? glaciers flowing from NW and NE to form moraine ridges and superposed glacial drift deposits in New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, and Long Island.
Pliocene 6.2 Regional uplift, tilting and erosion of Cretaceous coastal-plain strata; sea level drops.
Depression eroded that later becomes Long Island Sound.
Miocene 26.2 Sediment fans spread E and SE from Appalachians to extend coastal plain and push back sea.
Last widespread marine unit appears in coastal-plain strata.



Cretaceous 96 Passive eastern margin of North American plate subsides and sediments of the the coastal-plain strata accumulate to 18,000'. [Passive-margin sequence II]
Jurassic 190 Baltimore Canyon Trough forms and fills with 8,000 feet of sediment as Atlantic Ocean starts to open. 
  Newark basins deformed, arched, eroded.
200 Continued sediment filling of subsiding Newark basins along with mafic igneous activity both extrusive and intrusive.
Triassic Newark basins form and fill with red river flood plain and channel sediments.


Permian Extensive pre-Newark erosion surface formed.
260 Appalachian orogeny. (Terminal stage.) Folding, overthrusting, and metamorphism of Rhode Island coal basins; granites intruded.
Carboniferous 320 Faulting, folding, and retrograde metamorphism in New York City area.
Southeastern New York undergoes period of uplift and erosion.
Devonian 365 Acadian orogeny.  Intrusive activity and metamorphism in New England infrastructure.  Faulting, folding, and metamorphism in New York City area.  Peekskill Granite and Acadian granites intruded in New York and New England.  Deep burial of sedimentary strata in Appalachian Basin.
Silurian Uplift, erosion and planation surface forms across Appalachian orogen.
Ordovician 440 Taconic orogeny.  Arc-continent collision.  Intense deep-seated deformation and granulite-grade metamorphism in infrastructure.  Overthrusts from ocean toward continent in supracrustal (external) parts of orogen.  Taconian deep-water strata thrust above shallow-water strata.  Ultramafic rocks (oceanic lithosphere) sliced off and transported above deposits of continental shelf.
450 Brookfield Series, Cortlandt Complex, Hodges Complex, and related rocks intrude across Taconian suture zone (Cameron's Line and related shear zones).
Bathymetric reversal and development of deep-water Tippecanoe Sequence above beveled Sauk platform.
Cambrian 510 Shallow-water clastics and carbonates accumulate in west of basin (Sauk Sequence;  protoliths of the Lowerre Quartzite, Inwood Marble, and part of the Manhattan Schist Formation = Walloomsac).  Deep-water terrigenous silts form to the east. (Taconic Sequence; (Cambrian) protoliths of Hartland Formation and parts of Manhattan Schist Formation).  [Passive-margin sequence I]
PROTEROZOIC 544 Period of uplift and erosion followed by subsidence of margin.


Rifting with rift sediments, volcanism, and intrusive activity. 
Ned Mountain, Pound Ridge, and Yonkers gneiss protoliths


~1000 Grenville orogeny. Sediments and volcanics deposited, compressive deformation, intrusive activity, and granulite facies metamorphism. (Fordham Gneiss, Hudson Highlands and related rocks including Queens Tunnel Complex in New York City).


2600 No record in New York City area.  Some elements of western Adirondacks form.
4400 Oldest crustal rocks form in western Australia.
4600 Solar system, Earth, and Moon form.

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