SEM Imaging of Rocks of the Finger Lakes Region

Sean Maksimuk, Chemical Engineering, University of Rochester

Fillmore Glen

Fillmore Glen is located about 20 miles north of Ithaca. Right below the first waterfall is a place called “cowsheds” (picture on right), and various types of rocks can be seen here. Many fossils of clam shells can be observed here as well, as the ocean covered New York state millions of years ago. Samples 1, 2, and 3 were taken from the cowsheds area and sample 4 was taken from the upper region.

Sample 1

This sample was taken from the cowsheds.  It is an aluminosilicate with some layered morphology.

Sample 2

This particular sample was rather fossiliferous with various remains of clam shells observable on the surface of the rock. Although no fossils could be observed inside of the rock, the main component was calcium carbonate (see EDX spectrum) and aluminosilicates. The calcium carbonates come from the remains of shells of shelled aquatic organisms.

Sample 3

This samle was chosen since the remains of the clam could be clearly observed. The outline of the shell and the smooth morphology of the surface is clearly observable. As expected, the particular region of the clam shell remains show a spectrum suggesting calcium carbonate.

Sample 4

This sample obtained from the upper region of the glen(bottom region from the picture on right). A lot of weathering has occurred due to the creek. The sample was lamellar and the layers can be taken off easily like graphite. In lieu with macroscopic observations, the microstructure showed very thin sheets, probably on the order of tens of nanometers, with a very smooth surface.