Moraine and McConnells Mill State Parks
Glacial Lakes and Drainage Changes
by Gary M. Fleeger, Kent O. Bushnell, and Donald W. Watson.
Park Guide 4 - Introduction
Visiting the Parks
Visitors to these two parks see completely different scenes and attractions. McConnells Mill has a scenic gorge, waterfalls, rugged hiking trails, a whitewater stream, and a historic grist mill. Moraine has a large lake, fishing, boating, a gentle bike trail, and swimming beaches. And yet this variety obscures a common geologic foundation and a similar geologic history.
Both parks share the same bedrock formations and both gained their topography from the same glacial event. The bedrock formed 300 million years ago as layers of sand, mud, and peat. The topography formed mainly over the past two million years as rivers cut new channels when glaciers advanced and retreated across the region.
Moraine State Park is named for the ground and end moraines deposited by the glaciers. It is somewhat of a misnomer. Little morainal topography exists within the park because little of the park was ever covered by glaciers. The latest glacier left the area about 23,000 years ago to set the stage for today's state parks. How and why two parks that look so different have similar, or related, geologic histories is the story of this Park Guide. Originally published as two separate guides (#4 and #9), this edition is combined because of the parks' closely related geologic histories.
If you visit the parks, sites of interest are marked with a "Trail of Geology" sign. These locations are open to the public for viewing geologic features. Each of these sites is numbered, and the location of each is shown on the index map.
Go to the map and topics listed above to take a geologic tour of the parks. Click on images like the sunset to the right to explore further or to see a larger picture (where indicated).
- How the bedrock in the parks formed.
- Mineral resources of the area
- Creation and drainage of the glacial lakes and the formation of Slippery Rock Gorge. Includes an animated map showing the sequence of glacial lake drainage.
- Interactive map and list of sites