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Petrified Wood in the Northeast and the Mid-Atlantic

Posted by Andy Davenport  
Andy Davenport May 12, 2007 10:01PM
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?
Chester S. Lemanski, Jr. May 12, 2007 10:42PM
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."
Fred E. Davis May 12, 2007 11:57PM
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 May 13, 2007 12:46PM
Has anybody heard of petrified wood in Virginia?
David Von Bargen May 13, 2007 01:47PM
Yes, again do a search
asdaven May 13, 2007 04:11PM
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?
Alan Plante May 13, 2007 04:21PM
Not in northern New England. Everything up this way is metamorphic.


David Von Bargen May 13, 2007 04:26PM
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:
asdaven May 13, 2007 08:52PM
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.
Joe D. May 14, 2007 05:09PM

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 May 14, 2007 07:18PM
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.
David Von Bargen May 14, 2007 09:17PM
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).
asdaven May 15, 2007 10:26AM
Thanks- I guess I have not totally looked at the MGS website.
Joe D. May 15, 2007 05:22PM

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 May 15, 2007 08:58PM
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.
Debbie Sprouse May 18, 2007 05:38PM
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.
Steve Cantiello May 19, 2007 11:53AM
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.
Jane Jennings May 23, 2007 08:57PM
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.
Anita June 14, 2007 08:22PM
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.
Tim Fisher 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.
Wayne Gilmore December 16, 2007 01:30AM
Ive found and seen some found in several different locations in Va. some weighing 500+ Lbs
chrystal January 22, 2009 02:54AM
are pyrite in ohio associated with igneous, sedimentary or metamorphic rocks?
steven garza January 22, 2009 04:15AM
Dear Chrystal;
Except for Glacieral till from canada, there is no igneous rocks in Ohio; that being said AND taking the said till into account, pyrite is found in all 3!
Your friend, Steve
Guy L. Davis January 23, 2009 01:35PM
I found a 15-lb chunk of petrified wood in Cretaceous-era sediments in the Arbutus Canyon just south of Baltimore, MD. I believe it is cycad or sequoia/metasequoia. The specimen has excellent preservation of the wood grain and even has a worm hole evident in it. The outside crust is a very neutral tan color but consists of a micro-druzy that absolutely sparkles in the right light. Oh, and the druzy on it fluoresces orange under short-wave UV.
Lance Ingram March 08, 2009 02:16PM
When I was a kid in Chesterfield Co.Va.I dug large petrified logs from the Colonial Pipeline.There is a huge log on the lawn of the Chesterfield CH that was found on Old Hundred Rd.during road consion. I lived on that road! This part of the county is called Midlothian after the Scottish region where many of the coal miners came from.These mines were as I understand from the county historian were the first in the US and provided coal for the first occupants of the White house.
Contact me for further info.
Thanks, Lance
MIKES1964 September 02, 2012 12:17PM
Robert Ertman March 26, 2014 01:08AM
Join the Calvert County Marine Museum Fossil Club and you can come along on our field trips to sites near Odessa, DE, where we have permission to collect petrified wood (after corn & soybean harvest and before spring planting)
Harold Moritz March 26, 2014 04:07PM
The locality Fred Davis refers to earlier in this discussion is
Although known for over a century, pieces well-enough preserved for scientific description were only recently found (all private property, but there is a farm at the best site that sells their local produce, so maybe they would give permission).
At the visitor center in Painted Desert-Petrified Forest National Park (Arizona) is a wall display of petrified wood from pretty much every US state (not too sure about northern New England), but it was missing one from Connecticut, which I will have to remedy someday....
Jpn1376 October 25, 2014 03:55AM
MIKES1964 Wrote:

Would you be so kind to spot burn for North Attleboro? If not I understand.
Jpn1376 October 25, 2014 03:57AM
I swear I found a decent trunk section in Northern Maine 2 years ago and now I really want to take the 6 hour drive to review it again.
Cliff 1963 December 13, 2014 09:11AM
My father dug up a roughly 900 lb., 5 ft long, 2 ft wide petrified wood log about 40 years ago in Northern VA. (I think)
The research I've done so far haven't exposed any examples that look like mine, which is more "real wood" looking. I'm hoping to learn as much as I possibly can about what I've got and any information would be greatly appreciated.
Thank you very much in advance.
Tunaman April 15, 2016 06:13PM
Can find this stuff in northeastern/east-central Pennsylvania, in the coal strippings, beds, and dumps. Absolutely here, but not TOO prevalent.
Tunaman April 15, 2016 06:22PM
Good for you! Here in the northeastern and "central" coal regions of Pennsylvania I have seen and collected some of these "logs". I have a "stump" in my flowerbed estimated around 600 pounds, others with me range to around 80 pounds. Some I've seen out there I can't get out because they're too heavy, but real "woody" looking! Great, beautiful stuff.
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