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Rock City Park, Near Olean, c. 1900

N.Y. Near Olean. Rock City. Top of Rocks.
New York State Archives, NYSA_A3045-78_D47_OlY52_tif
Document Description
A man standing at the top of large rocks at Rock City Park near Olean, New York, circa 1900.
What was Rock City Park covered with for many years?
What events resulted in the creation of this landform?
How old are some of the rocks?
What mineral can be found in the rocks?
Why do you think the crevices created by the rocks are called streets?
If you didn't know when this photograph was taken, what clues could use you to guess the approximate date?
Historical Challenges
Research the Paleozoic Era, when North America and Africa collided. When was the Paleozoic Era? How does it relate to Rock City Park?
When was Rock City Park first opened to the public?
Interdisciplinary Connections
Math: How much is half a billion? Which is older, the quartz or the rock at Rock City Park? How much older? How old are the rocks in days? Months?
Science: What are some of the properties of quartz? What is quartz used for, and how is it mined?
Kittinger, Jo S. A Look at Rocks: From Coal to Kimberlite. New York: Franklin Watts, 1997. ISBN: 0531203107.
Pellant, Chris. Rocks and Fossils. Boston: Kingfisher, 2003. ISBN: 0753456192.
Symes, R. F. Rocks & Minerals. New York: DK Publishing, 2004. ISBN: 0756607191, 0756607183.

Historical Context
In prehistoric times, Rock City Park was an ocean floor. Rivers brought quartz from the mountains to the ocean, where it sank to the bottom and mixed with sand and mud, forming concrete, a process that took millions of years. At the time the Appalachian Mountains were formed, this area was lifted up and eventually eroded into the rocks you see at the park today.  Thousands of visitors each year visit the park to see the huge boulders with deep crevices, or "streets," like the ones in the photograph. The rock has been dated to 320 million years old, and the quartz itself is half a billion years old.
Essential Question
How does geography influence culture and human settlement patterns?
Check for Understanding
Describe the scene in the photograph and explain the influence of geography on culture.