The Palisades – Impressive Line of Steep Cliffs
The Palisades which is also known as the New Jersey Palisades or the Hudson River Palisades are considered to be a line of steep cliffs along the west area of the lower Hudson River towards the north-eastern New Jersey and southern New Jersey in United States.
The Palisades are the most impressive cliffs lining the western margin of the Hudson River. Palisade is resultant from the word `pale’, which eventually is from the Latin word `palus’ that means `stake’. The Lenape had named the cliffs `rocks that look like rows of trees’, a phrase which became `Weehawken’, a name of a town in New Jersey which is perched at the top of the cliffs across from Manhattan.
The cliffs tend to stretch north from the Jersey City at about 20 mi/32 km to around Nyack, New York. The cliffs rise almost vertically from the edge of the river which are almost 300 feet high at Weehawken and tend to increase steadily to 540 feet high near their northern terminus. Towards north from Fort Lee, the Palisades seem to be part of Palisades Interstate Park and are considered as a National Natural Landmark. Land slide was happened along Palisades cliff in 2012.
Designated – National Natural Landmark
The Palisades had been designated a `National Natural Landmark’ as a best example of a thick diabase sill in the United states. The sill seem to spread southward beyond the cliffs in Jersey City below the Inner Harbour and again appear on Staten Island.
The Palisades are the worn cross-section of a huge intrusive diabase sill which encroached between layers of sandstone and shale of the Late Triassic Stockton and Lockatong Formations. The sill lines 1,000 feet thick and could have probably been fed from an unknown stock buried below the basin towards the west.
Radiometric age determinations of the diabase indicate that the sill shaped in multiple stages, around 192 to 186 million years. The Palisades are some of the most histrionic geologic features in the surrounding area of New York City which forms a canyon of the Hudson north of George Washington Bridge. Besides this it also provides a vista of the skyline which is positioned in the Newark Basin, a rift basin located typically in New Jersey.
The Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory
There are several places of entrance to Palisades. A projection of diabase at the top of the cliff is one of the first you see while emerging onto the ramp from the Lincoln Tunnel on New Jersey end. The Palisades also tends to anchor the western area of both the George Washington as well as Tappan Zee Bridges.
The stretch of ten mile from the George Washington Bridge to the NJ-NY stateline tends to provide several locations for exploring the remarkable scenery within the Palisades Interstate Park. Moreover, a trail system which follows the crest of the Palisades starts at the western area of the George Washington Bridge with the possibility of walking across the bridge from the 175th Street or George Washington Bridge Station on the A train in Manhattan.
A better option would be to drive across the bridge going towards the north along the Palisades Interstate Parkway, pulling off at the various overlooks all along the way. The Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory which is part of Columbia University is just north of the New Jersey/New York border at Exit 4 on the Palisades Interstate Parkway and this satellite campus provides open houses yearly, which are an attraction to those, interested in geology and would not want to miss.