6. Prehistoric Rocks

Every day in Central Park, children and adults play, climb, and relax on ancient rocks which are approximately 450 million years old. Besides the trees, which are very young by comparison, the only natural feature in the Park that the designers incorporated into their design plan are these metamorphic rocks.

Manhattan schist photo by Rachel Fawn Alban

 The rock outcrops in the park are Manhattan schist and Hartland schist. According to wikipedia:

Manhattan schist and Hartland schist were formed in the Iapetus Ocean during the Taconic orogeny in the Paleozoic era, about 450 million years ago. During this period the tectonic plates began to move toward each other, which resulted in the creation of the supercontinent, Pangaea.

Some of Central Park’s rocks have what is called “Glacial Striations“, which are grooves in the rock that were formed when sediment embedded in the bottom of the moving glacier was dragged across the rock, leaving groove marks . Looking at these grooves, it is fun to imagine the big glacier moving through the park.

Where to find it: All over the park.

Central Park Schist Rock photo by Rachel Fawn Alban