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Petrified Wood in the Northeast and the Mid-Atlantic

Posted by Andy Davenport  
Andy Davenport
Petrified Wood in the Northeast and the Mid-Atlantic
May 12, 2007 11:01PM
Does anybody know of petrified wood localities in New England, the northeast, or the Mid-Atlantic? Can it be found in these regions? Does anybody know of any places you can get agate in the region?
Re: Petrified Wood in the Northeast and the Mid-Atlantic
May 12, 2007 11:42PM
Petrified wood has been found in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. The NJ material is replaced by carbonate with some silica and is from the Cohansey formation is south-central. It may be found (rarely) on the surface near creeks but is especially likely in sand and gravel pits and building excavations, especially in the Haddonfield area. I have heard of it from Maryland as well. Do a search in Mindat for "Petrified Wood."

New Jersey agates came from the trap rock quarries in years past, not more recently to the best of my knowledge. Carnelian was found in a creek in the Watchung Mountains, related to the basalt flows that comprise the mountains. Again, do a search in Mindat for "Carnelian."
avatar Re: Petrified Wood in the Northeast and the Mid-Atlantic
May 13, 2007 12:57AM
I saw one piece, a large trunk section from Lake Zoar, in the Peabody Museum's collection (at Yale in New Haven). It's not on public display, but is in Kline Geology lab (where the Peabody houses its collection). As far as I have seen, plant fossils are rare in Connecticut. Most fossils I've seen from CT are fish, and dino footprints.

I did collect some plant fossils (no trees, though) along Narragansett Bay in Portsmouth, Rhode Island. These were mostly calimites.
Andy Davenport
Re: Petrified Wood in the Northeast and the Mid-Atlantic
May 13, 2007 01:46PM
Has anybody heard of petrified wood in Virginia?
avatar Re: Petrified Wood in the Northeast and the Mid-Atlantic
May 13, 2007 02:47PM
Mindat lists spots near Richmond. Are there any places in Western Virginia? Has anybody been to the locales listed for Maryland? I live in Maryland and I have no clue where those two places are. Is there any places for Petrfied Wood in Northern New England? Does Mindat usually have all the places that exist or there are more places than it say's?
Re: Petrified Wood in the Northeast and the Mid-Atlantic
May 13, 2007 05:21PM
Not in northern New England. Everything up this way is metamorphic.


avatar Re: Petrified Wood in the Northeast and the Mid-Atlantic
May 13, 2007 05:26PM
Some areas in western Virginia don't have the right types of rock for petrified wood.
Mindat does not claim to be comprehensive.

See also Beste's articles:
Not just Metamorphic I guess, but a lot of Northern New England is granite (Igneous Rock). What about the Shenandoah Valley area of Virginia? I understand that to have a sedimentary bedrock. I know a lot of the mountains are metamorphic quartzite and other metamorphic rocks. Some Igneous. I don't think petrified wood, but some fossils like the leaf fossils of Northeast PA occur in Slate, which is a metamorphic rock. I have never heard of fossils occuring in Igneous rock. I am just an ameteur at this.

I still collect Petrified Wood in Pa & Del. The strip mines of Pa and the eastern river and stream beds still produce good wood if you take the time to research the locations mentioned in old books. The water courses provide the best chance of finding material with different colors of replacement Silica of the Quartz family. Farm fields are also a good place to look, if you can still find any farm fields that allow strangers to collect in.

The Odessa area of Delaware still provides plenty of good pieces of Wood when you find a new housing development to search. Maryland should be the same. Just don't expect to find any where the ocean was covering everything back in the days of funny looking critters. Plenty of shark teeth and other critters but not too many trees got covered by mud or ash before they deteriorated to provide our Petrified Wood. Do some geologic research to see where old forests once stood and you will be in business.

Joe D.
Andy Davenport
Re: Petrified Wood in the Northeast and the Mid-Atlantic
May 14, 2007 08:18PM
The problem is almost all of these places are private property. I was mentioning the shenandoah valley because of the shenandoah river. I guess river and creek beds would be good areas to look for things. If you are canoeing down a river, I guess you could check the riverbanks out without worrying about private property. Where do you research? The maryland geological service dosen't mention anything about petrified wood. How do you know you don't have some interesting mineral deposit or fossil in you backyard? I guess you can find anything if you dig deep enough.
avatar Re: Petrified Wood in the Northeast and the Mid-Atlantic
May 14, 2007 10:17PM
There are a bunch of resources from the Maryland survey that can point you in the right direction.
Maryland has produced plant fossils from the carboniferous to cretaceous.
(Look for counties with plants)

Also state geological map for a little more detail.

With the geological map you can narrow down the potential areas to look in. Then you need to dig up old geological papers on the paleontology of these areas (a good library can help here). Not all of the plant fossils will be silicified, but these can be a starting point to winnow out probable non productive areas (also remember that things are eroded and redeposited down stream).
Thanks- I guess I have not totally looked at the MGS website.

Just because it's" private Property" doesn't rule out ever collecting on it. I do lots of research on a new area and take the time to find out who owns the land, then I contact them and not only ask permisiion but volunteer any information I happen to come accross on the land. I have gained access to previously "out of bounds" areas by just talking to the owners and sharing information I know about their land. Just showing interest in the area and talking to the owners can make the difference. If you don't ask you can never get permission. A lot of owners just want to know who is on their land and will allow access if you show respect for them and their land. Of course some won't and you have to respect that and move on. I myself have never been turned down an opportunity to collect where I have introduced myself and asked permission. I still have access priveldges to a nature preserve that is off limits to other collectors just because I shared a lot of information on the past history of the land with it's owners that they were not aware of.

Most of my collecting is in water courses and it pays to know the law of the area you want to collect in. I don't dig in the banks of any stream. Even dry beds should have their banks left alone where they pass through private lands.

Research takes time but it usually pays off in dividends in the long run. If nothing else you learn a little more about our Earth. God bless the modern "Search Engines" like Google and Google Book Search.

Joe D.
Andy Davenport
Re: Petrified Wood in the Northeast and the Mid-Atlantic
May 15, 2007 09:58PM
That is good advice. Its just that, some people may look at you funny about knowing more than they do about their land. Some like you said, will be astonded. It is tuff just being a collector because you are not a more convincing person like a geologist for the USGS or the state geological survey or a mining company offering a large sum of money for mining part of your land for oil or gold or any other resource. I feel kind of weird collecting on somebody's land who I don't know. But you have a good point there.
Re: Petrified Wood in the Northeast and the Mid-Atlantic
May 18, 2007 06:38PM
There is devonian period petrified wood in Washington County, MD a few miles east of Fort Frederick State Park and near the Potomac. Grey, bluish and white with pyrite associated with other plant fossils. The site is listed in one of the east coast fossil collecting books.
Re: Petrified Wood in the Northeast and the Mid-Atlantic
May 19, 2007 12:53PM
Hi all,
Oh yea in Gilboa,NY there is a display of pertrified wood that was found when they built the dam.I visited the site back in the 90's.A small pull off area on a road with several tree trucks there.Proably could google Gilboa &petrified wood and come up with more on this.
I have a piece of petrified wood found in Central Ohio. I was told this area was also included in the pennsylvanian period. It is beautiful, and according to the professor at out local college. He made the statement of it being 350 million years old. He had nothing in their collection that even looked like the piece I found. I am interested in finding out if people buy petrified wood. and how does a person get a piece appraised? Any information would be of help.
Does anyone know where I can get a piece of Petrified wood appraised in (PA) to sale. I have had it for 9 years now. I brought it across country from Hood River Oregon.
Re: Petrified Wood in the Northeast and the Mid-Atlantic
December 14, 2007 04:59PM
No one would appraise petrified wood. It is so common as to be generally valued at the 50 cents to $5.00 per pound range. Unless it is an extraordinary specimen, you won't get much more than this from a knowledgeable collector.

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