Appalachian Piedmont

Outcrop Ca44-d2: The Christianstead Subdivision

Outcrops between Hidden Valley Drive and Farmhouse Road. The Christianstead subdivision is underlain by interlayered mafic and felsic gneiss with large pegmatites. The felsic gneiss, in the northwestern half of this subdivision, is deformed granodiorite, seen as massive igneous layers with only rare crinkle folding. There are a few “bright eye” textures on the west end of this subdivision, which is all underlain by granodiorite.

Outcrop Be32-g: Lesher Park Streambed

In Claymont, DE, the intersection of Marvel Avenue and Parkside Boulevard occurs at Lesher Park, which contains Perkins Run, a creek West of Harvey Road. In the streambed of this creek is an outcrop of Perkins Run Gabbro, which is part of the Arden Plutonic Supersuite. The gabbro displays joints that are oriented 10 degrees west of north. Along these joints, veins of charnockite (orthopyroxene-bearing granite of the Ardentown Granitic Suite) can be found.

Outcrop Be22-e: Ardentown Railside Boulders

Located in Ardentown are a few silicic boulders just on the northwestern side of the railroad bridge that crosses the South Branch of Naaman Creek. These boulders are part of the Ardentown Granitic Suite. Some have very large (several cm) feldspar phenocrysts. Some display contacts between granitic rock and quartz-rich rock, which is probably metasedimentary rock due to the granular nature of quartz.

Outcrop Be21-e: Hanby Park Quarry

On the south side of Chestnut Hill is an outcrop of very large boulders in the woods of Hanby Park near Arden, DE. This area of the park seems to be the site of an old quarry. The rocks here are very similar to the rocks found down the South Branch of Naaman Creek (Ardentown and Ardencroft) as they both share the same fine-grained, mafic properties with traces of coarse-grained charnockite.

Outcrop Be23-g: Charnockite Boulders in the South Branch of Naaman Creek

Running through Knollwood Park in Claymont, DE is the South Branch of Naaman Creek. This stream is laden with fairly mafic, medium to coarse-grained charnockite. Some of the charnockite samples here may be mylonitic. A few boulders contain xenoliths as well. Other gabbro boulders display charnockite veins in a gradational zone over about 1-2 meters.

Outcrop Bd21-a: Boulder Field at Brandywine Creek State Park

In the patch of woods north of the upper parking lot in Brandywine Creek State Park, there are large outcrops of amphibolite. The outcrops are rounded from exfoliation, and are black with few structural features. The mafic hornblende grains are elongated parallel to a few thin felsic bands. This lineation strikes east-west and dips to the north. These boulders are located on the northwest facing slope of the valley and are probably a paraglacial feature left over from a colder period in Delaware's geologic past.

Outcrop Be22-k: Charnockite Boulders at Ardentown

In the valley of the South Branch of Naaman Creek, through Ardentown, is a group of charnockite boulders and fine-grained mafic rock (probably amphibolitized gabbroid). The mafic rock is mostly non-megacrystic with some coarse-grained and equigranular charnockite. On the ground around the boulders are small pieces that contain a clear example of a contact between coarse-grained and fine-grained rock types.

Outcrop Bd44-b: Bringhurst Gabbro boulders in Shellpot Creek

Found in the creek bed and flood plain, the large boulders in Shellpot Creek are excellent examples of Bringhurst Gabbro. The gabbro is very coarse-grained with crystals up to 2" long; however, variations in the grain size exist over a scale of a few inches. While observing this rock closely, one can occasionally find grains of orthopyroxene (possibly bronzite) up to 4" long. Some of the boulders have grains of olivine surrounded by double coronas of orthopyroxene, spinel, and hornblende.

Outcrop Bd41-b: Rockford Park Gneiss Boulders at Rockford Park

The Rockford Park boulders can be found just beyond the Rockford Tower on the slope facing the Brandywine Creek. Some areas of the Rockford Park Gneiss actually display some banding of felsic gneiss and mafic gneiss which are interlayered on a scale of 4" to 2'. This banding strikes 30 degrees east of north and dips 60 degrees to the northwest. The mafic layers are boudinaged and broken, some of which are weathered away into a prominent relief. Between some layers, the rock is intruded by a coarse-grained and apparently undeformed gabbro.

Outcrop Bd42-e: The Cliffs of Alapocas Woods

Located in Wilmington, DE, the Cliffs of Alapocas Woods are opposite the old Bancroft Mills across the Brandywine Creek. Along the creek you will find large exposures of Brandywine Blue Gneiss. Compared to other outcrops in the Piedmont of Delaware, the rock examples here are massive. When observed closely, the felsic gneiss displays a medium grain size. Most of early Wilmington was built from the stone from these quarries. These impressive rock features are enjoyed by local rock climbers as well as many who use the Northern Delaware Greenway.