Mineral of the Month--October
Delaware Quartz, Part 1
Quartz: From Beach Sands to Foothills"
By Ken Casey
fellow adventurers! This month, our
takes us all over the
First State to find quartz in all it's forms. In this two-part
series on Delaware Quartz, we'll
venture across all three counties: New Castle, Kent, and Sussex in
search of our most popular
Summer is still lingering, but bring your light jacket. The weather promises to be
sunny today, so
Silicon is one the most abundant elements in
Earth’s crust. And, in what simpler form can
find it, than silicon dioxide (SiO2), or “quartz”. We have
clear, smoky, and amethyst quartzes,
that order. The rarest purple is likely found in small streambeds
Delaware has its share of this shiny
mineral. It is present in our sands, our gabbros and
and most prolifically in our pegmatites (as graphic granite). A nice
smoky variety is
prevalent in our
An area that straddles both the
Piedmont and Coastal Provinces, Delaware offers us
variety from which to choose--most of which is collectible.
We may find quartz in various forms: beach
sand, quartz rock, jasper, petrified wood, and
Paleo-Indian artifacts. And, all three counties: New Castle, Kent, and
Sussex, all have some
quartz. We will study a primer on Delaware quartzes, yet will
concentrate on two topics
our pegmatites and our beach sands. So come on along, we have
fieldtrips to make!
folks, what quartz is, and you'll likely get the answer, 'It's a rock,
would be correct, (though, technically it is a mineral). Ask them what
kind of rock, and you might
receive either a description of a pointy crystal or a short narrative on what they learned
This month's article will
take us beyond basic school knowledge. Once we see some photos
and interesting diagrams, most of us can appreciate more the beauty and utility of
Since we can find quartz almost
anywhere in Delaware, from rock outcrops, buildings,
soils, and beach sands, quartz permeates our gaze, even if we are not
thinking about it. Just look
around a bit, and see if you can spot places where quartz may be hiding.
Our local varieties share the beauty and scientific
interest of many folks. Please do join us!
Milky Quartz, Woodlawn Quarry, Wilmington, DE
Photo by Ken Casey
Reddish Quartz, Newark, DE
Photo by Tom Pankratz
What's in a name?
derives from the modern German "quarz" back to the Middle High German
"quarc", then to Slavic origins. The name has been around for
The modern name “quartz” was grandfathered prior to 1959
by the IMA.
Quartz has a reputation for
great utility, since prehistoric times. There is likely an ancient
word for it in most world languages. We'll discuss words that
modify quartz as we go, like
"Smoky" and "bull". Ready? Here we go.
|Modern utility of Delaware Quartz in
landscaping, Newark, Delaware
Photo by Tom Pankratz
is a tough mineral, whose properties serve to make strong the landmass
upon which we walk.
There are many varieties to be found in our state, such as: jasper,
wood, quartzite, beach sand and pebbles, sandstone, and rock
crystal. Most types we might
see on the surface. Sandstone,
however, is buried deep beneath our feet.
Ball-and-stick models of SiO2
(Above): Drawing by Tarbuck and Lutgens, 1999
(Above): Drawing courtesy of Michael Landry, NSU
|| Delaware's quartz
silicate of chemical formula SiO2.
It is a simple "[complex
of silicon ion surrounded
by four oxygen ions.
Negative charge of
4 units, and represented by
symbol (SiO4)4-. Diagnostic unit of
and makes up central building unit of
nearly 90 percent of materials of
Note the model on the left. The four red balls
represent Oxygen atoms. The single blue ball stands for the
Silicon atom. The charges on the Oxygen can be shared with
other silicon tetrahedra to form sheet layers and complex
A. shows the true bond, B. stretches the bonding areas
to show them better.
Picture lines drawn between all of the red Oxygen atom
balls. Now translate just the lines only, leaving the
balls behind. This may also shown more simply as a
(Left): SiO2 enhanced ball-and-stick model
(Above, right): Lines and sides filled-in to make a polyhedron (Drawing by Ken Casey)
principal building block of the quartz structure is the silicon
tetrahedron, which may be
represented by a four-sided polyhedron made up of triangles. The
model below makes it easier
to better understand the atomic bonding and lattice layering arrangement
at a glance. Note how
each polyhedron tip (or an Oxygen atom) shares its bond with another
(Oxygen atom) polyhedron.
Silicon tetrahedra helix
Univ. of Wisconsin-Green Bay)
Our simple Quartz is
classified as a basic "tectosilicate". "Tectosilicates are
the silicate class built from three dimensional networks of
corner-sharing SiO4 tetrahedra", though symmetries may vary.
These SiO2 polymorphs have occurrences that have formed under
certain pressures and temperatures. This versatile, important
crust-forming tectosilicate comprises almost 65%
of Earth's surface. It is a major component grain in our Delaware
rocks and sands. Another component, feldspar falls in this
"The basic structure of
quartz consists of spiral chain (helices) of tetrahedra around
three- and six-fold screw axes. At left...is one of the
three-fold helices, [below] is a diagram
showing the helices connected into a framework."
Also known as "alpha-quartz", it is
the fundamental cooled crystalline product of igneous rock
Computer model of Quartz lattice structure
Univ. of Wisconsin-Green Bay)
||Hexagonal Quartz Crystal
(Photo by Ken Casey)
Notice the hexagonal grouping of ions. This translates to our
seeing the hexagonal crystal
system shapes of crystal facets.
This tight structure
also gives it the attribute of 6.5-7.5 on the
Moh’s Hardness Scale--a
relatively hard mineral. This is a good thing,
since the ground we
stand on is in majority composed of silicate
Also giving us a firm foundation for our study of
quartz are the older two-dimensional drawings.
This is how crystallographers of the past viewed their subjects.
This author is no stranger to them.
|This is how
crystallographers of the past viewed their subjects.
(Drawing from The Changing Earth -- Introduction to Geology, 2
ed., Mears, Jr, D. Van Nostrand Co. 1977.)
Before computer modeling, students had to
rely upon drawing and constructing models for
author recalls his early use of materials he employed in the making of
constructs. The handiest were Doritos. Surprisingly,
their flat triangular shape fit well into a
graphic representation of
|Take 4 flat
Doritos, lay them out in a larger triangle, flip up the sides
until they touch: you have a "Doritohedron"!
(Photos and concept by Ken Casey)
One drawback, though--my
hungry dorm mates ate them immediately upon completion of my
lattice structure! I had to resort to poster board for a more
lasting model. All of this
helped me prepare for my mineralogy exam with Dr. Peter
Leavens, Prof Emeritus at the
University of Delaware.
I guess that's just the way the "Doritohedron" tumbles!
Now that we've
entertained the notions of a college- level understanding of
move on to Delaware Quartz geology.
(Doritohedron animation by Ken Casey)
In our quest for quartz we will rally on the
foothills, trace the fall line, and scurry
fresh beach sand, all the while following the tides and gravity.
This month's trip map
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
from the Survey's suggestions, coupled with our club's and this author's field
include tidbits that I learned from my basic geology courses with Dr. Alan Thompson and
Dr. Billy Glass at the
University of Delaware.
Note, our trek is from Wilmington center city up to
northwest of the city to Woodlawn Quarry. We will
backtrack to the great, wide Delaware River, then mosey on over to
Tom's place in Newark. Our longest leg takes us downstate
through Kent County to the Sussex County beaches.
Sure, we can cover this much ground in one day!
We're intrepid trekkers, eh?
Our article will follow our state's landscape with
surface deposits of quartz in all three
counties. Let's start with
Castle County's foothills.
As we visit the more rugged terrain of northern New Castle County from the
Pennsylvania, and Delaware
border, we can travel east to
Wilmington and find mega-boulders
covering much of the surface.
we stand atop of any of our favorite skyscrapers, we can can
aspects of our
geology: the Delaware River, the Delaware Memorial Bridge
it, and the marshlands,
denoting the fall line.
|Topographic Map of northern New
Castle County (Note the red arrow showing the slight dip in both
surface elevation at the fall line and the differentiation of
Piedmont and Coastal Plain. (The fall line is
roughly denoted as a green dashed line.)
(Map courtesy of the USGS, modified by Ken Casey)
land does seem to fall from the city on down, from about 250 feet above
just northwest of the city limit to just above sea level on the banks of
the Delaware River. The
does approach sea level as we exit the city to the southeast; however, the
bedrock dips, as well. What we see from the marshes on
on through our trek downstate are
sediments that have washed down from
the mountains and foothills, which have filled up the
over eons, thus raising land, which make up southeastern New Castle, and
of Kent and Sussex Counties.
south-southeast on I-95
||Marshy wetlands of Old New
|(Photos by Ken
Below us, sedimentary rocks have formed under heat
and pressure from the earth's
mantle and crust,
thus creating a sturdy state upon which to carry out
our business. The fall line just delineates the
area at which the igneous and metamorphic layers dip a bit, and
sediments have filled in the dip south
of the greater
Wilmington area. So,
fortunate enough to have all three major rock types
surface (and below it)
us to study--hoorah!
This is not to say the the land in lower Delaware is not solid
ground--it is. We couldn't
build houses upon it or
important structures, like our newly renovated
Old State House in Dover, if it wasn't. To the contrary,
the sediments are only on the surface; sedimentary rock lies
This historic edifice still stands proud today, since it's
original completion in 1791. Over two hundred years old,
and solidly anchored in our soil and in our hearts, it served
Delawareans in government service for 140 continuous
This is, of course, only one example of long-standing
structures that dot our First State today.
(Left): Renovated Delaware State House
(Photo courtesy of The Great State of Delaware)
Now that we are oriented geographically, let's
turn our attention to the higher ground. If we
turn around, and
look north from our urban perch, we can see the land rise in elevation,
on the far side of the
There are boulders here at
Brandywine Park, some
of which are quartz,
others contain quartz, like our
Brandywine Blue Gneiss. Why not check out
GeoAdventure when we are done today.
looking on Brandywine Park
||View looking southeast from
northern bank of Brandywine Creek
|(Photos by Ken
Now, to our canoes to paddle some ten miles
to witness the gentle rapids, which
erode rocks to the Atlantic
Coastal Plain. If you like, you
can hike the creek bank to study
geology more closely. We'll meet you at the rendezvous
Creek State Park.
We'll park our canoes at Brandywine Creek
State Park, and proceed uphill on foot to the
It'll be good to stretch out our muscles, after sitting. You
hikers of the
previous leg, groan as you will, and take a pit stop.
See you there. Watch out for the schist.
Yes, you see it. From the parking lot at Woodlawn Quarry, we still have to hike further
uphill. That's the
piedmont experience. Don't fret, after the quarry, it's all
downhill from here! Just look for the big white boulder (see:
(Left): White boulder (Photo by Ken Casey)
At last, we are here! Our landmark is the
white graphic granite boulder along the trail, just
about 50 feet
downhill on the tailings pile. At the top, we can look down into the quarry proper.
I won't ask you to climb, as we have visited this excavation on previous
excursions. Let's brush
away some leaves to find massive clear and
smoky quartz remnants from mining a century ago.
We can see the igneous
textures; some pieces are even gemmy, small as they might be.
milky quartz on forest floor
(Photo by Ken Casey)
||Smoky quartz grains in graphic
(Photo by Ken Casey)
Have a look at the boulders here. We can observe
the large pegmatite grains in the graphic
granite. In these
igneous rocks, quartz shares a place with feldspar, mica, garnet, and
It's a good time to stop for lunch, then discuss the igneous
rocks at Woodlawn Quarry. Then,
we'll take the easy way down by canoe, or
tube, whichever you prefer. Pass the Doritos, please?
||The Kalmar Nyckel docked at
Battery Park, Old New Castle, Delaware
|(Photos by Ken
Next, we'll glide back down the creek
and dock our small boats over to
Swede's Landing at the
confluence of Christina River.
We will come upon the Kalmar Nyckel, Delaware's Official Tall Ship.
After booking passage, we'll sail into the
Delaware River at
the fall line, until we reach the port of
Old New Castle on
Battery Park. Watch out for the ships!
We're likely to encounter ocean-going
vessels, as well as personal craft and
We'll follow the
Delaware safe boating rules,
|Brandywine Park, Wilmington, Delaware
(Video and photo by Ken Casey)
As we float downstream, notice the energy that propels
us southeast, and downhill. It's
gravity, of course, acting upon
the massive volume of water, which has no resistance, unless
contained. You know the axiom, water finds its lowest point at
which to rest. Scientifically,
high-energy to low-energy stream currents
result in large rocks being deposited upstream; while,
particles, like sand, are carried further downstream. That is why
we find more rocks at
the narrowing of the Delaware River and
Brandywine Creek, respectively.
Imagine first, the jagged remnants freed from the bedrock by earthquakes,
erosion, and the
freeze-thaw cycle, as they are tumbled into, then down, the
river or creek. Bumping against
each other in the
their bumpy edges break off into smaller rocks, while the
then dropped, as the current looses energy at stretches of
winter mountain snow meltwaters
swell the river and creek in springtime, a
larger volume of water is drawn
downhill, thus exacerbating erosion by its floodwaters--a problem
rounded stream boulders at BP
||Freeze-thaw releases new
material to stream at BP
|(Photos by Ken
Next, the rounding and polishing continues further downstream for the
smaller particles, until
such point as individual mineral grains are
broken free of their matrix in the case of our prolific
granite. Quartz sand and rock crystals are already extant, and will continue as
Sometimes, we can find a partially rounded crystal of
Amethyst from Pennsylvania, before it
becomes broken down into pebbles
or sand. Chert is also a quartz candidate for making sand.
Once the pebbles and sand either feed from
the creek into the Delaware, and as upper
Delaware River rocks and sediment
continue down to tidal areas, they polish even further. The
grains act as progressively finer grit sandpaper, as used by a craftsperson,
to give each
its distinctive shine and glow. Though not as
finished as a lapidary would tumble them,
are still a natural beauty to
We will visit some upper Delaware River rocks to our north on a future
visit. This basic
shows us also why we discover of the bulk of marshy
sediments and sand down
downstate. We'll see this mucky marsh sediment and sand, as we
sail on the tall ship
underneath the Delaware Memorial Bridge down to
New Castle City.
Notice now the Delaware River beach sand at Battery
Park, as we disembark from our ship.
at bulkhead, Battery Park, New Castle
||Typical beach sand of Delaware
(Photos by Ken Casey)
After becoming part of the Delaware River, Bay,
or ocean coast, the erosional process takes
a literal turn. Acted
upon by tidal waters and ocean waves, the beach sands move. It is
in the same place twice! The tides pull and redeposit some
sand. It is especially prominent in
summer and winter. The difference is that the bulk of beach sand
is pulled away to a
slope in winter by storm activity, and is usually replenished naturally by summer,
which is most
at the ocean and bay fronts.
in July with larger sand area
||Ocean beach in April with
smaller sand area
|(Photos b Ken Casey)
(Above): Ocean wave angle to shore diagram
(Drawing by Ken Casey)
And, as you can see as we sit on the beach, that ocean
waves hit the coast
not head on here,
but at an angle to the shoreline, depending on the
prevailing wind. As each wave hits, it sweeps
up and carries a
parcel of sand further down the
beach, a process known as beach evolution.
Yes, the sand all looks the
the process has been measured by geologists.
If you like
this area of study, you can
specialize in hydrology, sedimentology, or marine geology,
if you have a
mind to. The University of
Delaware at both Newark and the College of Marine Studies
& Earth Studies at Lewes have programs
|Aerial photo of Rehoboth Beach,
Delaware near Silver Lake
Note the wave action occurring at angles to the shoreline
(Image courtesy of Microsoft Terraserver)
Let's complete our observations of the sand
process for this trip as we
visit in depth one of the
sources of Delaware beach sand. We'll cross the fall line in pursuit of the dip
that fills as new
and is added. We'll
the topic of the larger pebbles in January in
"Delaware Quartz: Part 2:
Colorful Pebbles and Products of Erosion".
Don't worry, we'll come back to the beaches later in
our fieldtrip to study sand grains.
The fall line is a geologic
nonconformity after which sedimentary
rocks have formed over
previously eroded metamorphic and igneous rocks.
This hard-to-see escarpment runs hundreds
along our nation's coast. Our state has about twenty miles running
through New Castle
Delaware, Taconic orogeny-created metamorphic rocks have eroded to
Cretaceous and Tertiary sediments, which have been deposited over eons.
It took millions of
years of to remove most of the surface traces of major elevation
changes by creating a more
In Delaware, the eons of
deposited upon one another to form the Coastal
Plain Province over
the trailing edge of the North American continent. America's
Piedmont Upland Region slopes down from the Appalachian and
Pocono mountain ranges
from Pennsylvania and Maryland down to Delaware. Rivers and
creeks, such as the Brandywine
River, Brandywine Creek, and Delaware
River, have all contributed to the eroding of
create a geomorphologically crooked coastline.
Generalized Delaware Surficial Quartz Map
and Fall Line Designation
(Map by Ken Casey)
Fall line points under the waters have historically acted as
geographical and practical limits
of further upriver navigation; therefore, prominent
ports were established at these headwater
locales. I bet the Swedes and
other early settlers discovered this shipping anomaly, as they
on the Christina River, Brandywine Creek and Delaware River.
One can imagine the
'good luck' dolphins swimming of the bow of masted tall ships. As
water turns fresh near Wilmington, these sea mammals turn with the
tide for deeper waters and to
This is because currents on the Delaware
switch from ocean and bay saltwater tidal
to freshwater river downhill,
gravity-fed stream right around the Delaware Memorial Bridge and the
Port of Wilmington. Of course, the bathos changes with
environmental and geological conditions,
such as droughts, storm surges, or earthquakes and
fall line area from NJ to DE
||Shipping at fall line area near
the Delaware River
|(Photos by Ken
It is also interesting to note that in
modern times, U. S. Route 1 and
Interstate 95 roughly trace
this line, thus linking by road the major port cities in the United States.
Later, inland industrial
cities to the west paralleled the ports, and were joined to the ports by
railways, then highway.
Map of Fall Line running through New Castle County, Delaware
(Map by Richard N. Benson, DGS)
First State, the fall line is what made possible our creation
of a solidly-based port city
on the hill, successful marine commerce,
and recreational beaches in the same state. It did help
William Penn and the founding fathers to establish a political boundary
of the "circle" which
protected port waters under the Governor.
That is why the top of Delaware is a semi-circle on the
Geography does somehow dictate areas covered by a political
subdivision. For example, early
colonial property deeds, like
those land grants given to William Penn to disperse, describe land
boundaries from the bank of one stream to another. Further study
might give us clues to how our
local ancestors saw the geology of the
area. I am certain the Delaware Geological Survey has
those deeds and maps in their earliest work.
Map of Delaware "12-Mile Circle" Border with fall
line border (Map by Ken Casey)
As an exercise,
why not take a Delaware map copy and complete the circle with a drawing
compass (as above). Note how the area includes the Delaware River up to and
(Of course, we minus out the landmass of our
neighboring New Jersey.)
fact, in Pennsville
Township, Salem County, based upon
from Mr. Penn, the boat
docks attached to New Jersey soil, which jut out into the
waters of the
Delaware River violate
2005 revised statute, and are a controversy until this day.
are built on
adjacent tideland's lithos/
bathos interface, the boundary
the tides. That
that the old rule governing
where the state line between New
Delaware exists is still
issue to some degree. That is also why
Patch Island falls squarely
Good thing for
Fort DuPont, and
Fort Mott fans that a
clear state line is drawn!
See how geology can affect
society? Cool, huh?
There is no issue with this in
Sussex Counties, Delaware, or
south of Salem
County, New Jersey. So, our visit to Newark next, then
our return to Delaware Beaches will be a
lot more fun.
We'll come ashore in Old New Castle at
Battery Park to skip traveling the shipping channel
towards the C & D
Canal. (There are sand and fossils at the mouth of the canal, but
And, there are gravel quarries here and
there, but we'll visit those in January
Quartz, Part 2: Colorful Pebbles and Products of Erosion".)
Our club bus is waiting
for us at the park, so portage your canoes to
the boat trailer, and stow your oars. Let's climb
As we drive towards
Newark, Delaware, note the
flatness of the land on
Route 273 West.
Newark is at the bottom
end of the fall line area. We can find quartzes and pegmatites, many
which are in one our member's backyard. Our host, Tom Pankratz, is
a kindly mineral
collector and gemstone faceter. He is also our
club's Vice-President of
Programs. Let's have
a look at some of
crystal vug, Newark, Delaware
||Perhaps a pod quartz, Newark,
|(Photos by Tom
We have here
vugs of rock crystal, massive quartzes and
quartzite rocks the size of
basketballs, and the odd stream crystal.
'What is quartzite?', you might ask. Well, it is "[a]
rock consisting largely or entirely of quartz. Most quartzites are
quartzite boulder in Tom's backyard
|| Metamorphosed remnants of
an ancient sand beach
|(Photos by Tom
High metamorphism of sands in the
Setters Formation during the
Taconic Orogeny created
an impure quartzite. The sand once rolled
ancient sandy beach. It is likely that some
of Tom's rocks originated there. At one time, Tom's yard was
beachfront property. Oh how
changes "location, location, location".
Quartzes and Quartzites
||Close-up of reddish quartz
|(Photos by Tom
Tom gave a presentation recently to
our club on this phenomenon (among other processes)
November 12, 2007 meeting, called "The
Land Beneath Our Feet".
He took us on a virtual
tour of Delaware from the
Big Bang to modern times. Why not
look at the
summary later, when you are free.
pile of quartzes and other area rock
||Were turtles around when this
rock was formed?
|(Photos by Tom
The quartzes he has, however, most likely were formed as vein or
quartz. Some are
quartz pods, or "bulls" in other rock types. Ancient
fractures in Piedmont country rock commonly
filled with quartz via
either precipitation from solution, or by a melt.
migmatites, all hosting quartz.
Some of these become
sands as they erode down the
Red Clay Creek north
of Newark. Then, the process begins again
Tom has another passion--faceting gemstones.
One of his hobbyist goals is to facet at least
one of every major gemstone, up to and including Delaware Smoky Quartz!
Faceted Delaware Smoky Quartz
||Table view of Tom's faceted
|(Faceting and Photos
by Tom Pankratz)
As we say thank you to our host Tom, and say
goodbye, we'll adjourn to our bus for a trip
down to the beach.
What is your pick: Rehoboth, Bethany, Lewes, Fenwick Island? We'll head
out from Newark on Route 896 South to connect to U. S. Route 13 South
and bear left onto
Route 1 near Milford. This route takes us
through Smyrna and Dover and over aquifers.
What are aquifers? They are underground
beds of sand or porous rock that conduct or store
Either you, a well-driller, or Artesian Water will setup a hole and pump system that
will bring that water to your home or building. An
important aquifer is right underneath us as we
jostle down the road.
According to the Delaware Geological Survey Open Report 45, "Fluvial
sands of the subsurface Cretaceous
Formation form a major aquifer system used by a
in the northern Coastal Plain of Delaware." So, the study of sand facies is
required in Delaware to support a good local water supply. Become
a geologist, and
maybe you can help.
DGS Open File Report 45)
Enough talk about sand (until we reach the beach). Let's discuss a
snack. How about
boardwalk fries at Thrasher's? Or, a big hot Nic-O-Boli at
(Left): Photo of Delaware's Potomac Formation aquifer sands and
sediments (Photo courtesy of DGS)
Sand, that's what most
Delaware beaches are made of. It's not just quartz, though, but a
variable amount of other minerals of the same grain size. Some
sand is rounded, some is
granular, and some bits still have minute
crystal faces on them. We aren't going to study the
constituents, save to say they are multi-colored, like red garnets and
peach feldspars, or
in perfect crystal form, like zircons and magnetites.
In certain areas, ancient limestone (and
other carbonates), volcanic shards, marine invertebrate
shells and other organic matter
Aside from those, the major component is Delaware
River quartzes (especially
There are three major sources of this
sand: the Delaware River sediment flow, bay and
ocean rock and sediments in the
bathymetry of the Coastal Plain dip into
the ocean, and
beach replenishment trucks.
|Delaware Bay fine white sands
||Wind-blown sand dunes
|Brown angular Delaware beach
||Fine white Delaware beach sand
|(Photos by Ken
Up and down the Delaware coast, we can
find this mix of sands. From
aeolian dune system
berms to tidal inlets,
and from the
rough and granular
beach sand and pebbles to the north at Fowlers
Beach to the
smooth, natural white sugar-grain type sands to
to the south at Fenwick Island to
beach replenishment material, different sand types arrive at their shore
And, sand has its
own geology. It makes up the major
headlands of the Delaware coast
Rehoboth, Bethany, and South Bethany beaches.
Coastal geogmorphology includes bay
barriers and lagoons, too. "Between
the headlands, bay barriers separate the waters of the
Atlantic Ocean from the waters of the coastal lagoons of
Rehoboth Bay, Indian River Bay, and
Little Assawoman Bay."
major geographical changes have been observed and logged over the years
on the spit complex of
DGS Special Publication 26 "Historical Coastline Changes of Cape
shows photos of the massive migration of sand
since 1926, and chronicles topography since
There are issues that revolve around the use of externally
supplied sand added to the beach
to protect against or recover from
beach erosion. The gamut of topics run from the cost to
the efficacy of the proposed and current programs, and the financial
cost to taxpayers.
Aside from these goings on, the geology works
itself out, for better or for worse.
We'll just enjoy the
beach and study quartz sand grains today. Though, as
we must exercise great care into the resolution of these
with good science. In other words,
government relies on us to provide it evidence
and data that
utilized by our officials to make good decisions for the people and for the
(Left): Horseshoe crab shell at the
(Photo by Ken Casey)
One way to learn about Delaware coastal geology
is to visit the University of Delaware's
College of Marine Studies in Lewes. The nice folks there host an
Open House on "Coast Day"
in early October each year. Check the
U of D website for
Today, we'll employ a stress free way to learn about the
textures of sand and its
repose is to
build a sand castle. You can decide upon which sand, large angular
or fine grain, packs the best. What a novel and fun
experiment, eh? So, take a deep breath of salt air, and let's
enjoy our stay!
(Left): Sand castle from Ocean City,
Maryland's Sandcastle Contest 2005
(Photo courtesy of OceanCity.com)
At the Delaware beaches, there is no shortage of
marine and nautical art for us to peruse.
Upon researching sand, I
came across a local artist who paints pictures of it. He is
Coston, formerly of Georgetown, Delaware. While in residence,
Daniel painted some
magnificently detailed and lifelike beach scene
close-ups. From horseshoe crabs to clam
shells on the sand, his renditions
capture well both the textures and colors of Delaware beach
most artists paint more panoramic shorescapes, Daniel focused upon
and our favorite sands. Thanks, Daniel.
Painting "Cat's Eye Bubble"
||Acrylic Painting "Crashed
Spaceship/Dead Horseshoe Crab" by Daniel Coston
Now that we've visited sand and quartz throughout
the state, it's time to board the bus for
our return trip back to the
clubhouse. Dusk is falling, so let's take one last look at the
and go home.
Generalized Geologic Map of Delaware, courtesy of the Delaware
(Prepared by: Nenad Spoljaric and Robert Jordan, Revised by: Thomas E.
Our MOTM format will continue to offer us
information on two places we can visit to learn more
about minerals, such as this month's Delaware Quartz. Though I
haven't come across museums
outside of our great State to visit for the Delaware varieties, I have
found a nice museum out west,
whose collection has many forms of quartz, called the Rice Northwest
Museum of Rocks and
Minerals in Hillsboro, Oregon.
it came to sand, only an online museum with a growing and spectacular
gallery would do: The Virtual Sandbox Museum of World Sands.
Our first museum is
The Rice Northwest
Museum of Rocks and Minerals. It is situated near
Portland, and has a vast collection of common quartz and Oregon beach
agates. Two other
exhibits are the "Flowers of the Mineral Kingdom" and displays of
extraordinary lapidary works,
as polished petrified wood and gem minerals. They offer tours and
classes, as well as
private party facilities for meeting. You can even get married
there, if you have a mind to.
Our online choice this month is
The Virtual Sandbox Museum of World Sands, which hosts a
myriad selection of magnified sand grains from locations around the
globe. Our hosts encourage
the trading of sand specimens for fun and educational purposes.
Virtual trading of photos of sand
are happily carried out, as well. They post tips on how to collect
sand, identification, and projects
you can do with sand. I'm thinking of sending a few samples to
share with others. How about you?
As Delaware quartz occurs in commercial quantities
as gravel and sand, these most easily
forms are readily used in construction and landscaping. Our large
stretches of bay and
beaches are for recreation, and as nature preserves.
Sidelight: Under heat and pressure,
nature fuses quartz and mica together to
our Official State Mineral.
Quartz Crystals in vug
(Photo by Tom Pankratz)
Quarry: A GeoAdventure in the Delaware Piedmont
International Sand Collectors Society (ISCS)
"Sands of Time: Beaches have seen it all", Delaware News Journal
online, 10-28-2008 by Molly Murray
Beach Sand: Sand Collecting
Delaware Minerals List
rivers carried mountains to the shore" by Terry Plowman
Here is where DMS Members can add their Delaware
Quartz photos to share
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.
Tom Pankratz, DMS Member &
I would like to gratefully acknowledge
the generous contributions of our fellow Delaware
Garnet enthusiasts, collectors, authors, curators, professionals, and
club members who
made this work possible.
Tom Pankratz, DMS Member & Vice-President of
Nenad Spoljaric and Robert Jordan, Thomas E.
Pickett, Delaware Geological Survey
Tarbuck and Lutgens
©2007 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
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
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.
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
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
will be a surprise.
For 2007-8, we are waiting for your suggestions.
What minerals do
want to know more about?
Most of the
Mineral of the
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:
email@example.com, or tell me at our
the Fossil Exposures in the Chesapeake Bay Area" presented by Dr. Lauck
General Club Meeting:
We are meeting at
*Show Committee Meeting, April or May, 2013
*New Home/Lapidary Committee, 2013
*Board Meeting, April, 2013
Next Field Trips
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
also commemorates our 50th Show!
It's shiny, yellow, and
is a symbol of 50 Years!Can you guess?
Brook Crick Goethite" by Joe Dunleavy