Northeastern (46th Annual) and North-Central (45th Annual) Joint Meeting (20–22 March 2011)

Paper No. 2
Presentation Time: 8:00 AM-12:00 PM


VINECOURT, Jill R.1, DAWAHER, Aziza1 and HACKER, David B.2, (1)Kent, OH 44242, (2)Department of Geology, Kent State University, 221 McGilvrey Hall, Kent, OH 44242,

Situated along State Route 282 in rural northeastern Ohio are massive rock ledges of sandstones and conglomerates that have become trademarks of Nelson-Kennedy Ledges State Park. These rock formations are among the few outcrops in northern Ohio that have not been entirely covered with glacial sediments. The park is mostly covered with glacial till of variable thickness and composition overlying the Pennsylvanian Sharon Conglomerate (forming the ledges) and the Mississippian Cuyahoga Formation. Evidence of glacial erosion in the park can be found in the form of polished and grooved outcrop surfaces on top of the ledges. The Sharon Conglomerate represents sediments deposited in a fluvial environment and unconformably overlies marine shales of the Cuyahoga Formation. The most unique geologic feature of the park is found in the numerous blocks of rock, called slump blocks, which have slowly moved by creep away from the main cliff. These large blocks of Sharon Conglomerate, some the size of houses, were originally outlined by a perpendicular joint pattern that can easily be observed in the bedrock. The movement of the blocks has created a maze of passageways that visitors enjoy hiking through and are home to a wide variety of wildflowers, trees, and ferns.

Thousands of visitors come to the park each year to walk on, picnic beside, and photograph these ledge formations, often with no geologic understanding of what they are seeing or standing on. The goal of research conducted by the undergraduate team from Kent State University, on the geology of Nelson-Kenney Ledges State Park, is to provide a brochure that will educate visitors on the geology of this unique park. This brochure will be published and distributed through the Ohio Geological Survey. It will describe, in text and pictorial views, the geologic history of the bedrock stratigraphy, glacial erosion and deposition, slump block formation, and the local economic and historical impacts produced by these features. It will have a geologic time scale with descriptions as to how and when these rock formations were created in order to educate visitors as to the geologic time perspective, in millions of years, when this area was once a shallow sea and fluvial landscape. This brochure will be in terms and descriptions for the non-geologist to enjoy the natural beauty these ledges.