The Wilmington blue rock, Delaware's most famous rock, underlies both the city of Wilmington and the rolling upland north and east of the city. It is best exposed along the banks of the Brandywine Creek from south of Rockland to the Market Street Bridge. Along this section the Brandywine has carved a deep gorge in the blue rock. The water fall along this four mile gorge is approximately 120', and in the 17th and 18th centuries provided water power for one of the greatest industrial developments in the American colonies. The field trip stops described below are chosen as good examples of blue rock along the Brandywine Creek, and to illustrate how the geology has influenced the development of this area. It is not necessary to visit every stop to become familiar with the blue rocks, you may choose to visit only a few.
A field trip to Bringhurst Woods Park is appropriate for students in grades 5 and up (10 years and older), and provides an opportunity to observe intrusive plutonic igneous rocks that have intruded into country rock, which in this case is the blue rock or what geologists call the Brandywine Blue Gneiss. In addition, the minerals in the pluton are large, easily identified, and interesting. Mineral collecting is not allowed within the park, however permission may be obtained to collect along Shellpot Creek southeast of the park. Please do not use rock hammers on the rocks in the park.
GeoAdventures are designed to allow the reader to learn about a particular geologic point of interest in Delaware’s Piedmont province and then take a short field trip to that area. Want to know more about the Wilmington blue rock or Brandywine blue granite? Take the Wilmington Blue Rock GeoAdventure and go see just what the blue rock looks like.