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Allagash Falls Geology
The Allagash Wilderness Waterway is a magnificent stretch of lakes and rivers that spans 92 miles across northern Maine, beginning at Telos Lake and extending downstream to the village of Allagash. This is a popular waterway for paddling enthusiasts who seek solitude in an unspoiled natural setting. Excellent campsites, abundant wildlife and excellent fishing make any trip on the Allagash a memorable experience.
General geology of the Allagash River area
Usually after many days on the river, canoe travelers are confronted with the awesome obstacle of Allagash Falls, announced by a persistent low rumble that seems somehow out of place while paddling among the meandering islands that make up the reach just above the falls. The once complacent river becomes a roaring torrent of white that plunges 30 feet into a series of pools (Figure 2) (Figure 3). What, the traveler must wonder after many miles of river with only a hint of ledge outcroppings, is holding up the falls?
At this locality on the Allagash, the rocks of the Seboomook Group consist of very thickly bedded sandstone. These thick, resistant beds succumb to the erosive forces of the river slowly and have held the falls here for perhaps thousands of years following the melting of the last ice sheet.
The following photographs illustrate some characteristics of the rocks at the falls.
Enjoy the campsites and wonders of the Allagash.
Text and photos by R. Marvinney (unless otherwise noted).
Originally published on the web as the September 2005 Site of the Month.
Last updated on April 19, 2012
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