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Haddam, Middlesex Co., Connecticut, USA

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Latitude & Longitude (WGS84): 41° 28' 38'' North , 72° 30' 45'' West
Latitude & Longitude (decimal): 41.4772222222, -72.5125


Haddam is a town on the Connecticut River in Middlesex County that was settled by Europeans in the early 1700s. Besides Haddam center, the town includes other villages such as Haddam Neck (on the east side of the Connecticut River), Higganum, Tylerville, Shailerville, Ponset, Little City, and West Haddam. Haddam has a long history of quarrying, mineral discoveries and production. Its proximity to universities studying mineralogy (Wesleyan, Yale, Harvard, Amherst) and historic finds of chrysoberyl (world’s first in-situ crystals), fine epidote, columbite (first confirmed North American locality), heliodor, and of course the pocket elbaites and other minerals of the Gillette Quarry made it world famous.

Haddam displays rugged topography, with hills reaching over 600 feet above mean sea level. It is primarily underlain by Ordovician metamorphosed, plutonic, volcanic, and sedimentary rocks of the Bronson Hill volcanic arc terrane, with Ordovician to Silurian metasedimentary rocks of the Central Maine and Merrimack oceanic terranes under the town’s east. The oldest rocks are metaplutonic rocks of the northern Killingworth dome complex, found in a generally north-south belt under Higganum, Ponset, Little City, West Haddam and Hidden Lake areas. These are predominantly a gray orthogneisses; the Boulder Lake gneiss and the Pond Meadow gneiss. However, the Mississippian Hidden Lake gneiss occurs as a pluton in the core of the Killingworth dome.

Flanking the dome on the northwest and east are Ordovician metavolcanics of the Higganum Gneiss and Middletown Formation, consisting of amphibolites and mafic gneiss and schist with local areas rich in gedrite, anthophyllite, sillimanite, staurolite, kyanite, cordierite, garnet and tourmaline. Further out from the Middletown Formation are belts of the Collins Hill Formation, a mix of metasedimentary rocks consisting of schist, gneiss, amphibolite, calc-silicate, marble, and quartzite. The western belt of Collins Hill rocks crosses the extreme northwest corner of town, the eastern belt trends north-south from east of Rock Landing in Haddam Neck, through Haddam center and down to Turkey Hill Reservoir. It is most famous for hosting spectacular epidote crystals and other calc-silicate minerals found long ago in a solution cavity on the Hazen farm.

Immediately east of the eastern Collins Hill Formation is a belt of Monson Gneiss that was heavily quarried on Quarry Hill (above Injun Hollow Road in Haddam Neck), on Great Hill and on Long Hill. The first quarries, in Haddam Neck, were opened by Deacon Ezra Brainerd in 1762 and are among the first in the nation. The quarry on Great Hill opened in 1794. Easy access to the river and abundant rock allowed the Brainerd and Arnold families and others in Haddam to ship stone for building, paving, and fortifications all over the east coast for many decades. The favored rock on the west edge of the belt is a vertically foliated bluish-grey, biotite to hornblende gneiss that split easily into large slabs and was known locally as the “Allen vein” after its discoverer, quarryman David Allen. The exterior of the old county jail at the corner of state Route 154 and Jail Hill Road in Haddam center is faced with this stone.

The easternmost part of Haddam is underlain by calc-silicate gneiss and granofels of the Hebron Formation, part of the Merrimack oceanic terrane that is separated from the Bronson Hill terrane rocks to the west by the Cremation Hill Fault Zone. The fault is named for the hill in Haddam just south of Shailerville.

A minor but noteworthy rock is the Higganum Dike, an early Jurassic diabase intrusion that was a feeder dike for the Holyoke Basalt in the nearby Hartford Mesozoic Basin. The dike extends from nearly Long Island Sound, cuts diagonally northeast through Haddam, and continues well into northern New England. It is associated with Mesozoic brittle faulting that affected all of Connecticut. Where such faulting brecciated quartzite on the west side of Long Hill, abundant and large (over 25 cm) quartz crystals formed in the open spaces.

Permian pegmatites, both large and small, can be found cross-cutting all of Haddam’s bedrock. The larger ones intrude mostly the Middletown and Collins Hill Formations on both sides of the Killingworth Dome. They generally stand out as topographic ridges. Most of the feldspar quarrying took place in internally zoned pegmatites in the eastern belt of these rocks, especially at the Rock Landing and Gillette Quarries in Haddam Neck. The latter pegmatite, opened in 1895, contains miarolitic cavities that produced spectacular euhedral pocket crystals of elbaite, one of the few places in North America, plus abundant smoky quartz, albite, beryl, fluorapatite, topaz, microcline, and lepidolite crystals. It is the type locality for the lithian muscovite variety schernikite, named for early Gillette gem miner Ernest Schernikow. A similar pegmatite, the Sawmill Quarry, was worked on the west flank of Long Hill. Numerous small, cross-cutting pegmatites were encountered in the gneiss quarries working the Allen vein from Haddam Neck southward well into Long Hill. These narrow but sharply zoned pegmatites produced abundant gem grade aquamarine, plus schorl, almandine, columbite, and occasionally molybdenite. Some were worked for feldspar also. Pegmatites in the Higganum area are unzoned and simple, with reddish microcline that discouraged quarrying. Their main asset is abundant euhedral magnetite crystals.

In 1810 Archibald Bruce discovered chrysoberyl at the Cephus Brainerd house on Walkley Hill Road, the first place the mineral was found in-situ. This odd-ball rock consists of albite variety oligoclase, quartz, beryl, spessartine, schorl, chrysoberyl, cordierite, gahnite, columbite-(Fe), and talc and was studied for decades. The rock layer is conformable with the host rocks and lacks K-feldspar and so is more like a metamorphic rock and is unlike the true, cross-cutting granitic pegmatites in the area. Similar rocks composed mainly of oligoclase, quartz, cordierite and schorl are found elsewhere along strike at Tim’s Hill and at state Route 9 interchange 8. The presence of columbite-(Fe) is also noteworthy because the first crystal (named simply columbite) was described by Hatchett in England in 1802 and was collected perhaps 100 years earlier from an unknown Connecticut locality. The recognition of this new mineral lead to new finds in Haddam (first confirmed North American locality and Middletown, intense study, and speculation that the first crystal came from this area, perhaps from Nat Cook's columbite prospect.

The combination of varied bedrock; abundant simple to complex pegmatites; faulting; intense quarrying for stone, feldspar, and gems; and mineralogists at nearby universities made this small town famous in the mineral world, as related by traveling doctor Frederick Hall (1840):

I could not pass by Haddam --- a place known all over civilized earth, for the richness and variety of its mineral productions. I therefore begged the captain to put me on shore, that I might have the pleasure of spending a few days in rambling among the rocks, and examining the fine quarries of granite and gneiss, which are very numerous, and are said to be extremely lucrative to their proprietors. The barren hills are, indeed, alive with human beings, hard at work, with the wedge, the crowbar, the drill, and the sledge¬hammer. Thousands of tons of the stone are already got out, and prepared for the builder's hand, waiting to be transported to New York, and other more Southern markets.

Mineral List

Mineral list contains entries from the region specified including sub-localities

Actinolite

Aegirine

Albite

var: Cleavelandite

var: Oligoclase

Allanite-(Ce)

'Allanite Group'

Alleghanyite

Almandine

'Almandine-Spessartine Series'

Annite

Anorthite

Anthophyllite

'Apatite'

Aragonite

Autunite

Axinite-(Fe)

Azurite

Babingtonite

Baryte

Bavenite

Becquerelite

Bertrandite

Beryl

var: Aquamarine

var: Goshenite

var: Heliodor

'Biotite'

Birnessite

Bismuthinite

Bismutite

Bismutotantalite

Bustamite

Calcite

Caryopilite

Cassiterite

'Chabazite'

Chalcopyrite

'Chlorite Group'

'Chlorophyllite'

Chrysoberyl

Columbite-(Fe)

'Columbite-(Fe)-Columbite-(Mn) Series'

Cookeite

Cordierite

Cronstedtite

Cummingtonite

'Cyrtolite'

Dickite

Diopside

Dolomite

Dravite

Elbaite

Epidote

'Fahlunite'

Ferri-ghoseite

Fluorapatite

Fluorite

var: Chlorophane

Fourmarierite

Gahnite

'Garnet'

Goethite

Gonnardite

Graphite

Grossular

Grunerite

'Gummite'

Gypsum

Hastingsite

Hematite

'Heulandite'

'Hornblende'

Hyalophane

Ilmenite

var: Manaccanite

'Indicolite'

Jacobsite

'K Feldspar'

'var: Adularia'

Kutnohorite

Kyanite

'Labradorite'

'Lepidolite'

'Limonite'

Maghemite

Magnetite

Malachite

'Manganese Oxides'

'var: Manganese Dendrites'

Marcasite

Meionite

Melanterite

Meta-autunite

Metatorbernite

Microcline

var: Amazonite

Microlite Group

Molybdenite

Monazite-(Ce)

'Morganite'

Muscovite

var: Schernikite (FRL)

Natrolite

Nepheline

Nontronite

Opal

var: Opal-AN

Orthoclase

Oxy-dravite

Paragonite

Phlogopite

Phosphuranylite

Piemontite

Pollucite

Powellite

Prehnite

Pyrite

Pyrophanite

Pyrophyllite

Pyroxmangite

Pyrrhotite

Quartz

var: Amethyst

var: Rose Quartz

var: Smoky Quartz

Rhodonite

'Rubellite'

Rutile

'Scapolite'

Scheelite

Schorl

Siderite

Sillimanite

Sodalite

Spessartine

Sphalerite

'Stilbite'

Talc

'Tantalite'

Tantalite-(Mn)

Tephroite

Thorite

'Thorogummite'

Titanite

Topaz

Torbernite

'Tourmaline'

'var: Achroite'

Triphylite

Uraninite

Uranophane

Vandendriesscheite

Vesuvianite

Zircon

Zoisite

var: Thulite


113 valid minerals. 1 (FRL) - first recorded locality of unapproved mineral/variety/etc.

Rock Types Recorded

Entries shown in red are rocks recorded for this region.

Note: this is a very new system on mindat.org and data is currently VERY limited. Please bear with us while we work towards adding this information!

Rock list contains entries from the region specified including sub-localities


Localities in this Region


The above list contains all mineral locality references listed on mindat.org. This does not claim to be a complete list. If you know of more minerals from this site, please register so you can add to our database. This locality information is for reference purposes only. You should never attempt to visit any sites listed in mindat.org without first ensuring that you have the permission of the land and/or mineral rights holders for access and that you are aware of all safety precautions necessary.

References

Hall, Frederick. (1840), From the East and from the West. F. Taylor and W. M. Morrison, Washington City.

Hunt, T. S., (1852), Examination of Some American Minerals. American Journal of Science. series 2, Vol. 14, pp. 340-1.

Beers, J. B. (1884), History of Middlesex County.

Williams, Horace S. (1899), Letter to Miss Eveline Brainerd of Haddam, February 18, 1899. Brainerd Public Library, Haddam, Connecticut.

Davis, James W. (1901), The Minerals of Haddam, Connecticut Mineral Collector: 8(4): 50-54.

Davis, James W. (1901), The Minerals of Haddam, Connecticut Mineral Collector: 8(5): 65-70.

Williams, Horace S. (1945 [circa]), Article for New York Society of Mineralogists. Brainerd Public Library, Haddam, Connecticut.

Palache, C., Berman, H., & Frondel, C. (1951), The System of Mineralogy of James Dwight Dana and Edward Salisbury Dana, Yale University 1837-1892, Volume II: 983.

Lundgren, Lawrence, Jr. (1979), The Bedrock Geology of the Haddam Quadrangle. State Geological and Natural History Survey of Connecticut. Quadrangle Report No. 37, pp. 9-13.

Altamura, Robert J. (1987), Bedrock Mines and Quarries of Connecticut. Connecticut Geological and Natural History Survey Natural Resources Atlas Series Map, 1:125,000 scale, with 41-p. booklet.

London, David. (1989), Bedrock Geology of the Moodus Seismic Area, South-Central Connecticut. State Geological and Natural History Survey of Connecticut, Report of Investigations No. 11.

Aleinikoff , John N.; Robert P. Wintsch ; Richard P. Tollo; Daniel M. Unruh; C. Mark Fanning and Mark D. Schmitz. (2007), Ages and origins of rocks of the Killingworth dome, south-central Connecticut: Implications for the tectonic evolution of southern New England. American Journal of Science, 307:63-118.




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