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                           Mineral of the Month--January 2008

                              Delaware Quartz, Part 2

                                                   Silicon Dioxide



                                        "Delaware Quartz: Colorful Pebbles and Products of Erosion"

                                              By Ken Casey

Why Delaware Rounded Quartz?
What's in a name?
Chemistry & Science
Some Delaware Quartz Geology
Prehistoric and Cultural Quartz
Today's Gravel
Collecting Quartz Pebbles
Two Museums of Note
Members' Gallery
Article Contributors
Photo & Graphics Credits
Suggested Reading
Invitation to Members
Past Minerals of the Month

deflag.gif (4102 bytes)
        Delaware State Flag

Image courtesy of Marchex, Inc.
©2007, World Flag Database


Rounded pebbles rolling downstream...


...makes for gravel and pleasant dreams!

(Top, left): Delaware Bay Quartz Pebbles
Photo by Ken Casey ©2007



     Happy New Year, ye students of geology!  This January, our Mineral-of-the-Month will have
us rolling about into the subject of gravel and pebbles of the First State.  Second in this two-part
series on Delaware Quartz, we'll visit a gravel quarry, pebbles downstate, Paleo-Indian artifacts,
and various other products of erosion.  Yes, we get to traverse and stop in New Castle, Kent,
and Sussex Counties
to find rounded quartzes upon which to gaze.

     We are in mid-winter, yet our January thaw has given us a splendid opportunity to search
outdoors.  It's a bright and sunny day, so
Let's go!




    In part 1, we covered igneous quartz and bedrock, and touched upon our beach sands. This
month, we will study the sands and pebbles of time that lie around Delaware’s coast, rivers,
creeks, and aquifers. In other words, sedimentary quartz.

     Erosion by wind and water has deposited grains of quartz sand from microscopic to larger
pebbles here. Though glaciations did not officially touch Delaware topography, subsequent
erosion of glacial material left to the north of us, from Pennsylvania and New Jersey, did arrive
here eons ago.

     Work by geologists gives us an overview as to the surficial occurrences of tumbled quartzes.
And, digs by both archaeologists and gravel miners point to areas rich in rounded silicon dioxide,
which can help us to paint a picture of the widespread availability of this mineral to view and to

     As quartz was geologically created in a range of colors, whose original occurrences span the
greater northeastern United States and Canada, the area of colorful material which have aggregated
over Delaware’s ancient landmass is vast. So, that means that we can find colors ranging from clear,
white, yellow, pink, purple, and green strewn across our local landscape.

     Though most terrigenous erosional detritus is from places outside of Delaware, these mineral
morsels do belong here by virtue of having arrived under our feet thousands of years before native
Delawareans came here. Since they are ours to collect (with appropriate permissions, of course),
we can assemble a vast array of colorful specimens to show and to share!

     So come on along, we have another Delaware Quartz fieldtrip to make.

     We can, however, take our pick of geology hikes to view them in situ. Or, as the Delaware
Geological Survey has organized itineraries for us, called GeoAdventures.  We''ll share a bit
from the Survey's suggestions, coupled with our club's and this author's field experience.

     Our article will take us across marshy, gravelly, and beachy landscapes.  Enjoy!


Why Delaware Rounded Quartz?


      One thing people in general seem to admire are colorful pebbles.  Whether they are polished
or rough, the natural form seems to lend itself to appreciation by an area of the human psyche
that processes beauty.  Streamworn river rocks and pebbles do foot the bill. 

      From parkland boulders to river, creek, and ocean shore rounded stones, Delaware's varieties
have inspired art, collecting, and articles about our native wonders. 
(Feng-shui, anyone?)

     Our three counties have landscapes for us to set feet and eyes upon.  Please do join us!

Quartz Pebbles on Brandywine Creek bank, Wilmington, Delaware (Photo by Ken Casey)


What's in a name?


    We covered the etymology of "quartz" in Part 1.  We'll focus now on the pebbled form.

    "A pebble is a of rock with a particle size of 4 to 64 millimeters based on the Krumbein
phi scale of sedimentology. A rock made predominantly of pebbles is termed a conglomerate." 
It is a small stone, especially one worn smooth by erosion.


     The word "pebble" derives from the Middle English pobble, pibel, and pebul.  Back from
there, the Old English papol-, as in papolstān (pebblestone).  Today we pronounce it "pĕb'əl".

      Most used forms of the word are: pebbles, pebbled, pebbling, pebbly.


Quartz Agate pebble from Sussex County, Delaware (Roland Bounds Collection on display at DGS)
(Photo with permission, Ken Casey)

Chemistry & Science

     In October of last year, we covered some chemistry and physics of Delaware's quartz.  It
is a silicate of chemical formula SiO2.  And, on the Moh’s Hardness Scale, it ranges from

     Since we have those concepts under our belt, we will concentrate on some of the geological
processes that create our rounded quartz rocks.  Also, we'll touch upon aspects of hydrology
and sedimentology.  We will visit these disciplines below in our Some Delaware Quartz Geology



Prehistoric and Cultural Quartz

     Let's start our excursion this month with a leap into the prehistoric past.  From the quartzes
of Earth's beginning to siliceous fossils to early native artifacts, Delaware Quartz has formed
and reformed into evidence which helps us to understand our past.

     Most are not found in rounded pebble form, since these items are rarely the products of
alluvial flow, though, they are quartzes of life, and relate to our modern cultural use of pebbles. 
The first item is plant fossils that we would encounter on a dig near Odessa, would show us in
their preserved wood grain their origins as earlier trees.

Petrified Wood from Odessa, Delaware  (Photo by Ken Casey) 

     The first hand-hewn quartz artifacts we could uncover in an archaeological dig would be
Delaware Paleo-Indian arrowheads and spearheads used for hunting.  I understand many of the
items found were knapped from Jasper.  "The nomadic hunters of this Paleo Indian period were
among the most skilled makers of stone tools in the world. They would travel great distances to
quarry the best flinty stones from which they made exquisite spearpoints, knives, and small tools.
Archaeological evidence suggests that they traveled to Piedmont quarry sites near the project
area for occasional resupply. Archaeologists in the Delmarva Peninsula have been very interested
in establishing the locations of stone raw material quarry sites and the mechanisms by which
these materials were obtained and reached the locations where we now find them."


Stone artifacts found near Christiana, DE
on display at the DGS
  Close-up of arrowheads from Christiana area
on display at DGS
(Images taken with permission of the Delaware Geological Survey/ Photos by Ken Casey)

A variety of Delaware Paleo-Indian artifacts    Delaware Bifurcate Projectile Points 
(Courtesy of the Delaware Archaeological Museum, Dover, Delaware) 

     Though I have never found any such tools, I am told that they have been discovered at
Lum's Pond State Park.  Since this is a public park, no collecting is allowed here.  Instead, we
can visit our friends at the Iron Hill Museum in Newark or the Zwaaenendael Museum downstate.

     Our virtual hike itinerary will have us start on the Delaware River shore at Fox Point State
.  Not many pebbles here, but it is a landmark view of the river.  It is also the start of the
longest trail Delaware Coastal Heritage Greenway: The Pinelands Trail.  Since it's a nice day,
we'll walk down to Newark (though a bit off of the main trail) to a favorite local repository of
history, the Iron Hill Museum.  How about a tour of some Native American artifacts?

      After that, we'll resume our corridor jaunt to Odessa and onto Cape Henlopen and Lewes,
where we will stop at the Zwaanendael Museum to learn more about the earliest settlers' lives. 
Feel free to take in fresh air and photos of our precious wildlife.  And, we might find a few
quartz pebbles along the way--the mainstay of Delaware collectible quartz.

Informational sign about Shipwreck at Lewes Beach
(Photo courtesy of the State of Delaware)
       Some evidence of history that we might encounter nearby on the beach might be an arrowhead, or even a 300-year old relic of an antique sailing ship.  There is a sign posted at Lewes Beach informing us as to the disposition of any finds we might make there.  The Zwaanendael is greatly interested in recovering and interpreting our local history.  So, if we come across anything, we'll walk over to the curator's office and hand it over for posterity.
     Let's stretch our attention back further to before the first European settlers arrived, say
maybe 500 years, or so, ago to the Lene Lenapé people and their earlier heritage. 

     This native Delawarean people pass on to us both an oral tradition about the first rocks in
Delaware and a belief about certain local quartz. 
From crafting arrowheads and eking a life
around sand to adding silica into their clay pots, the Delaware Indians, or Lenni Lenapé
People, also passed their creation story as part of the people’s oral tradition. Called The
Lenapé Creation Story
(Lenapé Kishelamàwa'kàn), the existence of all rocks, including
Delaware quartz, was attributed to one of four powerful Spirit Beings sent by Kishelamàkânk,
the Creator.
  Here is part of their story:

     “There were first created the Keepers of Creation, four powerful Spirit Beings, to help him
in his task of fulfilling and creating the vision: the Spirits of the Rock, Fire, Wind, and Water.
Into each he breathed life and Spirit, giving each different characteristics and powers. These
four beings were: Muxumsa Lowànewànk, our Grandfather in the North. He was placed there
to control the power of rock. He gave forth solidity and physical form to the Creator's thoughts,
to his vision. North Grandfather gives us the wintertime, ice, snow, and cold; also, our bodies,
the rocks, the trees, and all that we see around us;”


     Some of these rocks were pure, clear quartzes.  Pieces of broken veins and crystals from
the upper Delaware River basin did erode out over time, and found their way to be naturally
deposited upon the banks of the Delaware River and Bay.  Along the way, each fragment was
worn by water action and polished by rubbing against the other pieces in the stream currents.

     This "200 mile journey that takes thousands of years to complete. The strong tidal flow
against the hulk of the sunken concrete ship "Atlantus" is the cause for them to wash ashore
in such great abundance.”  The people believed that each stone "...possessed supernatural
power bringing success and good fortune" for the one who holds it.  They gave them as gifts
or traded them with early European Settlers.  These Cape May Diamonds are one of our local
area's quartz.


Lewes Beach sand and pebbles (Photo by and courtesy of Mike Mahaffie)

     As logic might suggest, the Delaware Bay shore in southern Delaware lays claim to its
own cache of fine quartz pebbles.  Some are found at Lewes Beach.  Do they have a fancy
name, such as "Lewes Diamonds" from the Diamond State, I do not know.

     Perhaps we could dream up a new name.  "This particular stone is often described as
having a harmonization effect. Dreams of it may reflect a desire for or acquisition of harmony
with the world."

  (Source: “Daily Dream Decoder: Quartz”)

     Other cultural beliefs include pebbles, which are mostly quartz.  "A custom among Jews
is to leave a small stone behind when they visit the grave of a loved one, a token of remembrance.
Thus even the most common thing, a pebble from the ground, can be invested with human meaning."


     Cairns are another example.  This conical pile of stones served as a site marker or landmark,
usually for remembrance or navigation.  At the famous Walden Pond cabin site of American
philosopher Henri David Thoreau
, thoughtful folks who visit may place a pebble from the surrounding
grounds onto an existing pile of remembrance rocks.  My wife and I visited there some years ago,
and paid our respects, as such.  Pebbles as a positive symbol can be a good thing--either left or


Some Delaware Quartz Geology

     Above, I mentioned the sciences of hydrology and sedimentology.  These are the two main
sciences by which one might study Delaware's stream deposits, erosion, and coastal geology.

     As our gravel and sand deposits are essentially alluvial in nature, there isn't a lot more to
discover within the scope of our trip than how we can learn more beyond the beauty of our
pebbles.  For fun, we'll search out gravels in the next section.  So, let's pull up a rock and sit
a spell.  We'll discuss these two "-ologies" to give us a basis for future studies.

     "Hydrology (from Greek: Yδωρ, hudōr, "water"; and λόγος, logos, "study") is the study of
the movement, distribution, and quality of water throughout the Earth, and thus addresses both
the hydrologic cycle and water resources. A practitioner of hydrology is a hydrologist, working
within the fields of either earth or environmental science, physical geography or civil and
environmental engineering."  Subdomains of this field link it to meteorology and geology.


Marine life abounds at Lewes Beach, Delaware
(Photo by and courtesy of Mike Mahaffie)

     Water is central to this discipline.  Hydrological research underwrites our study of ancient
water movement, and subsequent deposition of sediments, and the study of life.  Therefore,
"[t]he scientific study of the properties, distribution, and effects of water on the earth's surface,
in the soil and underlying rocks, and in the atmosphere."


     Environmental Hydrology, for example, can concern us with geospatial watersheds, and
waterflow events which affect our lives.  Since water covers about 70% of the Earth's surface,
and is necessary for much of life on this planet, it's study is of paramount importance to our
lifestyle maintenance.

  (Source: NOAA's NWS Office of Hydrologic Development

       Nature conducts very powerful forces, one of which is the movement of water.  Storms, storm surges and runoff are but three classical aspects of this volumetric transfer.  Since ancient times, both liquid and solid water have shaped and carved our landscapes.  Rounded pebbles are a product of these erosional processes--our focus here.

Run emptying into Brandywine Creek at BCSP
(Photo by Ken Casey)

    Today, we can study the creation and movement of pebbles through these sciences of
hydrology and sedimentology.  Modern scientists and civil engineers attempt to halt the
destructive effect of these processes from causing havoc with our infrastructure by studying
how these processes work on all scales.  By observation and event-by-event logging and
trending the results, preventive and emergency solutions may be found.  Items, such as
multiple rainfall events, tailwater, hydraulics, and culvert calculations, and runoff hydrographs,
can be quantified, then applied to land management.  Moreover, these practical applications
can be applied to ancient geology of our Delaware.

    Through advances in computer-modeling, we can can make better maps to understand the
basic lithostratigraphy (or geologic rock and sediment layering).  Let's look underground.

Bethany Beach (Photo by Brooks Layton/ Courtesy of Sussex County, Delaware Government)

     Below today's Delaware estuaries lie evidence of more geologically ancient coastal water
environments.  Over the eons, the landmass, which became The First State, was covered fully
or partially by water, eroded, and built up again by sedimentary processes, among others.

     The concepts underlying hydrology and sedimentology overlap into our study of Delaware
pebbles--and our largest mined resources: sand and gravel.  Put on your hardhat; we are
about to enter a quarry!

Hydrology Links
Society for Sedimentary Geology 
International Association of Sedimentologists  
Sedimentology at 
siliciclastic sedimentary rocks


Sedimentology Links

Global Hydrology Resource Center  
American Institute of Hydrology 
The International Association for Environmental Hydrology 
Department of Hydrology and Water Resources: University of Arizona 
Hydrology at 


Delaware, Pennsylvania & New Jersey Geological Maps


Generalized Geologic Map of Delaware, courtesy of the Delaware Geological Survey
Prepared by: Nenad Spoljaric and Robert Jordan, Revised by: Thomas E. Pickett
Physiographic Map of Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania Geological Survey
New Jersey Geologic Map, courtesy of the New Jersey Geological Survey



Today's Gravel


     Yes, right in our own backyard are numerous gravel quarries--in all three counties.  How did
it all get there?  Well, our coast has been geologically active almost continually, since its landmass
area was created.  As a coastal deposition zone on the trailing edge of the North American
continent, sediments have formed, been lain down, and metamorphosed over and over again.


     As sea levels have dropped greatly over ice ages and geologic time, exposed rock weathered.  "Later, the sea again covered most of Delaware and deposited Chesapeake Group (Miocene age).  This group consists of interbedded silts and sands and reaches a thickness of 400 feet at the St. Jones. Many of the sandy layers contain important supplies of water for municipal and industrial use in the Dover area. The repeated advance and retreat of continental glaciers during the past one to two million years (Pleistocene age) caused dramatic changes in relative sea level and the configuration of streams draining from the glaciers. The deposits from meltwater runoff supplies most of the sands and gravel for construction. Sand and gravel are the most important mineral resources in Delaware with the most potential source for Kent County being in and around the St. Jones River Component area."

  (Source: NOAA: Delaware Geology)

(Above, left): Close-up of Upper Delaware River gravel from near Riverton, New Jersey

(Below, left): Eroded gravel bank of Upper Delaware River near Riverton, New Jersey

(Photos by Patricia Sidelsky)


     As gravel is present in many surface deposits in The First State, a valuable resource is available
to us without hard rock mining.  Any of us might be the beneficiary of gravel in our local construction. 
Perhaps some of the trails we have traversed this trip are underlain with Delaware's finest gravels!

Major Sand and Gravel Operations Map for Delaware, June 2004
(Courtesy of the Delaware Geological Survey)


     The Pleistocene Columbia Formation holds most of the sand and gravel mined in the First State
as road and construction aggregate.


     Of course, economically sized gravel may be found all along the course of the modern Delaware
River, from New York State, past Pennsylvania and New Jersey at the Delaware Water Gap, and
all down Delaware and New Jersey's shared borders and bay.

Yes, you too can own a Delaware River Gravel Quarry.  This one is currently up for sale in Hancock, NY.
(Photos by Upper Delaware Real Estate)

     According to Kelvin W. Ramsey, Geologist for the Delaware Geological Survey, in a paper he
delivered at the GSA event in 2001, "Deposition of inner Coastal Plain stratigraphic units was
essentially complete by the late Pliocene. This interval was characterized by high sediment supply
driven by climate change and establishment of present drainage systems. This resulted in
widespread deposition of the Beaverdam Fm. in Delaware..." as sediments were redistributed all
over the Delmarva peninsula.  Quaternary era sea-level rising also contributed to resedimentation. 
These are some of the events that have resulted in the beach gravel deposits we mine today.


Bethany Beachfront, home of wildlife and sediments
(Photo by Brooks Layton/Courtesy of Sussex County, Delaware Government)

     We have so much sediment available that, "Delaware is the only state in the union that does
not produce crushed stone."



View down large boulder upon a gravel bed bank of the Brandywine Creek, Wilmington, Delaware

(Photo by Ken Casey)

    Before we proceed, let's define what gravel is.  Gravel pebbles are naturally eroded rocks, larger than sand, and smaller than cobbles. Geologically defined, its dimensions range from 2 mm-75 mm (1/12"-3").  These sedimentary particles will pass through a 3" sieve and retained by a No. 4 US Standard sieve (3/16").  Anything larger than 2mm is called gravel.  One standard construction materials definition lists gravel as a mix of sand, pebbles, and small cobbles from 2 mm-200mm in diameter range.  Delaware's quarries host material on the smaller (and more practical size), that is, less processing for immediate distribution and use.

  (Source: Gravel boards at


Sample sizes of "Delaware River Jack" gravel similar to those quarried on Route 9, near New Castle
(Photos courtesy of County Conservation Company, Sewell, NJ; Route 9 Graphic from Delaware Highways)


     There are eleven majors sand and gravel operations in our state today.  Surface quarries
span all three counties.  The closest to our clubhouse is on Route 9, just south of the town of
New Castle.  I remember another now defunct quarry that we called "the sandpits".  It stretched
about two miles by one mile, and was bordered by Interstate 295, Routes 13/40 to the north
and west, and by the housing developments of Swanwyck Estates, Castle Hills, and Jefferson
Farms to the east and south. 

     The angular, orange sand was good for construction.  The site has since been reclaimed in
the 1970s as Southgate Industrial Park.  There was even a small urban legend that fish inhabited
the larger puddles there; and, that they were so hungry, that you could put anything on a fish
hook, and they would bite.

     As finding these deposits are still hit and miss, due to the nature changing alluvial channel
geology, DGS's maps, reports, and services for the citizens, local governments, and businesses
go a long way to the support of interests in our state.  Delaware's Hydrologic Stratigraphy 

     Fortunately for us, our search for smaller quantities of Delaware's colorful pebbles, is a lot
more easy. 


Collecting Quartz Pebbles


     Pebbles of quartz may be found almost anywhere in the First State.  We will visit the First
Town, Lewes, Delaware to find some.  Then, we will venture across the choppy waters of the
Delaware Bay to a New Jersey beach, which has comparable pebbles: Sunset Beach on
Cape May.

Lewes Beach shoreline    Shallow waves ripple around a wave-battered scallop shell at Lewes Beach 
(Photos by and courtesy of Mike Mahaffie) 

     As the Delaware Greenways Project expands, we’ll be able to hike directly to other geologic
locations rather efficiently on current and future MOTM fieldtrips. Thanks to the State of Delaware
and its partners, our educational and recreational experiences will be enhanced.  We can now
almost walk through all three counties via the East Coast Greenway!  It might take us maybe five
or six days to traverse the over 100-miles of topography, but we're in shape for virtual jaunt, eh?

     Now, we'll say farewell to our tour guide at the Zwaanendael Museum, and hit the beaches!

       Next, we are onto Lewes Beach to comb for some gemmy rounded quartz--maybe these are the "Lewes Diamonds" that we dreamed up earlier?! Or, even the "Lewes Dutch Diamonds", now that we've been inspired by the history at the museum.  Put on your sunglasses, and let's scour the sands for some waterclear pebbles! 

     If you're up to it, we can take a side trip to both Fowlers Beach and Slaughter Beach, both which boast fine and colorful pebbles of note.  Mark Marquisee has made his interest in our local gems by photographing them for over twenty years now.  You can even purchase one of his posters, if you like.  You might see him at the next Coast Day 2008.

(Left): Colorful beach pebbles, including clear quartz, Lewes Beach, Delaware  (Photo by and courtesy of Mike Mahaffie)

     Hope you filled your bags with some local treasure.  We are now off from Lewis on a nautical
excursion over the Delaware Bay to the shore of Cape May, New Jersey.  Come on, I know you
want to sing it, "One the way to Cape May...".

We're embarking for Cape May, New Jersey on the Cape May-Lewes Ferry
(Photo by Brooks Layton/Courtesy of Sussex County, Delaware Government)

     Silliness aside, let's buy our tickets and board the Cape May-Lewes Ferry.  The club will
treat to lunch on board.  If you're prone to seasickness, rest easy, and to your remedies, if
you have them.  When we're settled, we can inspect our Lewes finds in preparation to compare
them to the Cape May variety. 

    Both sides of the bay seem to produce similar pebbles, with one difference, Jersey folks
have kept a native legend alive about the appreciation of their shore's pebbles.  I think a bit of
modern marketing helps, too.


     Ah, after our 17-mile voyage, we're here!  Let's mount up and disembark the ferry boat, then onto the beach.  We'll hike about three miles or so through the wildlife management area, and along the shoreline, until we reach our last destination this trip: scenic Sunset Beach.

     It's a small stretch of beach, nestled near the tip of the cape on the bayside.  Yet, it has a charm of bygone days.  Two modest one-story beach-type buildings house a gift shop, the Sunset Beach Gift Shop, to be exact.

     Our hosts encourage us to collect a modest quantity of Cape May Diamonds for our personal use.  Let's fill up, then visit their shop.  Inside we will find machine-tumbled and highly-polished quartz diamonds to peruse or purchase.  Yes, they have even brought out their beauty further by setting these stones in jewelry--a nice souvenir.  Of course, we can buy and mail a post card there to our friends who could not make this journey with us today.

(Above, left): Sunset Beach sign at Cape May

(Below, left): Our entrance to the Sunset Beach Gift Shop:
The person to the left is DMS Member Eileen Casey, my lovely wife.  (Photos by Ken Casey)


     After getting an idea what Cape May Diamonds can look at their best, let's comb the beach
a little more in search of the nicest pebbles for our collection.

Polished by tumbling for 3-weeks, these Cape May Diamonds shine brightly
(Photo by Ken Casey)

     Our view will include fellow beachcombers, boaters, and the derelict concrete ship "Atlantus",
which went aground in a storm in June 1926.  It serves as landmark and a marine habitat for us.

Sunset Beach looking north   A wave rolls on some Cape May Diamonds   Close-up of Cape May Diamonds
Bench, Jetee, Atlantus, Boat   Our intrepid author (a rare photo)   S. S. Atlantus beach sign
(Photos by Ken Casey)



     Lapidary tumbling can enhance that of nature's, so I fulfilled a promise to my wife to make for her a box of Cape May Diamonds.  I collected them on our vacation, recently after we were married, and for three weeks finished them in a toy rock tumbler--the kind you can get for about $10.-$20.  She loved them, and keeps them on her dresser.

     Oh well, it's time to start back to the clubhouse, when I start telling sentimental rockhounding stories.  So, grab your bagful of pebbles, and let's go home!

(Left): Wooden box filled with tumbled and polished Cape May Diamonds  (Photo by Ken Casey)


Delaware Bay Links 

Sunset Beach Gift Shop  
Sunset Beach, New Jersey 
Cape May-Lewes Ferry
Lewes, Delaware  
Cape Henlopen State Park 
Lewes: The First Town in the First State 
The Lewes Historical Society
Mark Marquisee pebble photographer Slaughter Beach 



Two Museums of Note

     Please join us at our two museums of note this month.  We are visiting--you guessed it--the
Zwaanendael Musem in Lewes, Delaware and the Delaware Archaeological Museum in our
State Capital City of Dover, Delaware.  Both official Delaware Museums, each offers a unique
experience at discovering early life in the state.  A bit of geology can be found here and there,

    The Zwaanendael Museum offers exhibit that cover the rich maritime history of the area, as
well as coverage of 11,000 years of prehistory, which includes Paleo-Indians.  A current exhibit,
"Rediscovery Through Recovery" offers us a glimpse into shipping of the 1760s with artifacts
from the Roosevelt Inlet Shipwreck.  Amazing what has happened around our pebbles over the
years, eh?

     Our second museum is the Delaware Archeological Museum in Dover.  This museum hosts
a greater scope in Delaware's long history, as it contains artifacts from the entire state.  Items
such as arrowheads, stone and bone tools, and ceramics are showcased.  In May each year,
the museum hosts a series of events aligned with Old Dover Days and Delaware Archaeological
Awareness Month




     As Delaware quartz occurs in commercial quantities as gravel and sand, these easily accessible
forms are readily used in construction and landscaping.  Our large stretches of bay and ocean
beaches are for recreation, and as nature preserves.

Delaware Bay quartz pebbles
(Photo by Ken Casey)


DelDOT's Cultural Resources (Archaeology) Page



Members' Gallery

     Here is where DMS Members can add their Delaware Quartz photos to share with us.



Until Next Time

     We hope you have enjoyed our historic visit to Delaware Quartz.  Please join
us next month, for another article, and we shall journey together!

Until then, stay safe, and happy collecting. hardhat2a.gif (5709 bytes)



Article Contributors

The Great State of Delaware

Sussex County, Delaware Government

Chip Guy, Chief of Public Information, Sussex County, Delaware Government

Sandy Schenck, P. G., Delaware Geological Survey

Delaware Piedmont Geology by Margaret O. Plank and William S. Schenck, DGS


Photo & Graphics Credits

    I would like to gratefully acknowledge the generous contributions of our fellow Delaware
Quartz enthusiasts, collectors, authors, curators, professionals, and club members who
made this work possible. 


Marchex, Inc., World Flag Database

The Great State of Delaware

Sussex County, Delaware Government

Chip Guy, Chief of Public Information, Sussex County, Delaware Government

Sandy Schenck, P. G., Delaware Geological Survey

Delaware Archaeological Museum, Dover, Delaware

Zwaanendael Museum, Lewes, Delaware

Brooks Layton

Mike Mahaffie

The Delaware Geological Survey

The Pennsylvania Geological Survey

The New Jersey Geological Survey

Patricia Sidelsky

Upper Delaware Real Estate

County Conservation Company

Delaware Highways 

Delaware Piedmont Geology by Margaret O. Plank and William S. Schenck, DGS

Nenad Spoljaric and Robert Jordan, Thomas E. Pickett, Delaware Geological Survey

Physiographic Map of Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania Geological Survey


©2008 All contributions to this article are covered under the copyright protection of this article
and by separate and several copyright protection(s), and are to be used for the sole purposes of
enjoying this scholarly article.  They are used gratefully with express written permission of the
authors, save for generally-accepted scholarly quotes, short in nature, deemed legal to reference
with the appropriate citation and credit.  Reproduction of this article must be obtained by express
written permission of the author, Kenneth B. Casey, for his contributions, authoring, photos, and
graphics.  Use of all other credited materials requires permission of each contributor separately.
Links and general contact information are included in the credits above, and throughout this article.
The advice offered herein are only suggestions; it is the reader's charge to use the information
contained herein responsibly.  DMS is not responsible for misuse or accidents caused from this
article. All opinions, theories, proofs, and views expressed within this article, and in others on this
website, do not necessarily reflect the views of the Delaware Mineralogical Society. 

Suggested Reading:

Delaware Piedmont Geology including a guide to the rocks of Red Clay Valley
by Margaret O. Plank and William S. Schenck

Gem Trails of Pennsylvania and New Jersey by Scott Stepanski and Karenne Snow


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   About the Author:  Ken is current webmaster of the Delaware Mineralogical Society.  He has a diploma in Jewelry Repair, Fabrication & Stonesetting from the Bowman Technical School, Lancaster, PA, and worked as jeweler.  He has also studied geology at the University of Delaware.  And, he is currently a member of the Delaware Mineralogical Society and the Franklin-Ogdensburg Mineralogical Society.  E-mail:

Invitation to Members


Want to see your name in print?  Want to co-author, contribute, or author a whole Mineral of the Month article?  Well, this the forum for you!

And Members, if you have pictures, or a story you would like to share, please feel free to offer.  We'd like to post them for our mutual enjoyment.   Of course, you get full photo and author credit, and a chance to reach other collectors, hobbyists, and scientists.  We only ask that you check your facts, give credit where it is due, keep it wholesome for our Junior Members watching, and keep on topic regarding rockhounding.

You don't even have to be experienced in making a webpage.  We can work together to publish your story.  A handwritten short story with a Polaroid will do.  If you do fancier, a text document with a digital photo will suit, as well.   Sharing is the groundwork from which we can get your story out there.

Our club's webpages can reach any person surfing the net in the world, and even on the International Space Station, if they have a mind to view our website!

We are hoping for a possible tie-in to other informative programs upon which our fellow members might want to collaborate.  Contact any officer or board member with your suggestions.

Our next MOTM will be a surprise.  For 2007-8, we are waiting for your suggestions.  What minerals do you want to know more about?

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Most of the Mineral of the Month selections have come from most recent club fieldtrips and March Show Themes, and from inspriring world locales, and suggestions by our members, thus far.  If you have a suggestion for a future Mineral of the Month, please e-mail me at:, or tell me at our next meeting.



Past Minerals of the Month
December 2007 Mineral of the Month: Delaware Muscovite Mica
November 2007 Mineral of the Month: Delaware Beryl
October 2007 Mineral of the Month: Delaware Quartz, Part 1
September 2007 Mineral of the Month: Delaware Garnet: Almandite
August 2007 Mineral of the Month: Schorl (Black Tourmaline)
July 2007 Mineral of the Month: Rubellite
June 2007 Mineral of the Month: Elbaite 
May 2007 Mineral of the Month: Delaware Feldspar, Part 2 
April 2007 Mineral of the Month: Delaware Feldspar: Orthoclase
March 2007 Mineral of the Month: "The Colors of Fluorite"
February 2007 Mineral of the Month: Pennsylvania Fluorite
January 2007 Mineral of the Month: Sillimanite
December 2006 Mineral of the Month: Hedenbergite by Karissa Hendershot
November 2006 Mineral of the Month: Brandywine Blue Gneiss
October 2006 Mineral of the Month: Spessartite by Karissa Hendershot
September 2006 Mineral of the Month: Native Silver
August 2006 Mineral of the Month: Kryptonite
July 2006 Mineral of the Month: Azurite
June 2006 Mineral of the Month: Pyromorphite
May 2006 Mineral of the Month: Tsavorite by Karissa Hendershot
April 2006 Mineral of the Month: Variscite
March 2006 Mineral of the Month: Petrified Wood, Part II
February 2006 Mineral of the Month: Petrified Wood, Part I
January 2006 Mineral of the Month: Strontianite by Karissa Hendershot
December Mineral of the Month: Clinozoisite
November Mineral of the Month: Bismuth
October Mineral of the Month: Wulfenite by Karissa Hendershot
September Mineral of the Month: Turquoise
August Mineral of the Month: Peridot
July Mineral of the Month: Ruby
June Mineral of the Month: Antarctic Fluorite
May Mineral of the Month: Dolomite, Part 2
April Mineral of the Month: Dolomite, Part 1
March Mineral of the Month: Calcite
February Mineral of the Month: Agate
January Mineral of the Month: Fluorite
December Mineral of the Month: Pyrite
November Mineral of the Month: Stilbite  
October Mineral of the Month: Celestite   


Comments and questions:

This page last updated:  February 19, 2011 10:15:11 AM




Next Meeting

April Program, Monday, April 8, 2013:

"Destruction of the Fossil Exposures in the Chesapeake Bay Area" presented by Dr. Lauck Ward

General Club Meeting:
April 8, 2013

We are meeting at
Greenbank Mill

Special Meetings:

*Show Committee Meeting, April or May, 2013

*New Home/Lapidary Committee, 2013

*Board Meeting,  April, 2013

Next Field Trips


Past Fieldtrips

Next Show
DMS March Show
March 1-2, 2014 at DelTech Stanton


Our 2013 Show Theme was:
"All That Glitters is as Good as Gold!"

March Show 2013 Report






Fossil Forum

"Dinny, the Dino"

"Belemnites are coming"


MOTM June also commemorates our 50th Show!

It's shiny, yellow, and is a symbol of 50 Years!Can you guess?


Collecting Adventure Stories:

"Sunny Brook Crick Goethite" by Joe Dunleavy