? About Difference in NJ Stones

Kevinhooa

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Ok, I know I should probably know this already, but I've read before in books about our local South Jersey native stones, but is it Sandstone, or Ironstone, or both? Everyone I've ever known has called it sandstone, but the way most books refer to this stone used in foundations, they call it NJ ironstone. Also, is this stuff similar to the stuff dug up in swamps years ago... bog iron? My old house was on top of the natural vein of this stuff that runs through Mullica Twp. into Egg Harbor City and Galloway to the edge of the river so we used to dig it up all the time. You can tell it's full of iron from it's rusty color, so the ironstone name makes sense. I know how it's geologically created, I'm just wondering about the names.

Kevin
 
Kevin and Mark:

While Spungman could answer this question much better than me, I will take a stab at it. The basis of what we call “ironstone” is sandstone. According to James A. Audley, writing in his 1921 work, Silica and the Silicates (sounds like a great name for a “rock” group!!),

“Sandstones contain the same minerals as sands, the commonest of them being quartz, with often a considerable amount of felspar, and usually some white mica as well. …Ferruginous sandstones are brown or reddish, due to the presence of ferric oxide (hæmatite) or hydroxide (limonite), the latter brownish yellow and the former reddish, which form thin coatings around each quartz grain. Impure sandstones usually consist mainly of quartz with a considerable admixture of other minerals. …In ferruginous sandstone the iron oxide or hydroxide generall forms only a thin pellicle about each grain, but in some cases they are more abundant (pp. 29-30).”

Here in South Jersey, we have the limonite form of iron (a hydroxide). The limonite forms the basis for our ironstone and for bog iron. The source of the limonite is in the underlying greensands known as the Cohansey Formation, which takes its color from glauconite, a silicate of iron and potassium. Before the groundwater seeps into the ground, it becomes acidic from the dominant pine-needle mat on the ground and this acid dissolves the glauconite or iron salts in the greensands. As these solutions percolate to the sufaces of streams, the iron oxidizes when it comes in contact with the air and a scum forms on the still water surface which then collects along the stream banks. This scum, in turn, becomes attached to the silica and gravel in the stream bank through a process known as cementation, forming a heavy iron-ore bearing sedimentary rock which we call ironstone or bog iron.

This material proved very durable as an early building material. Eighteenth-century probate records mention ironstone quarries, which are nothing more than removing the top of a sandy rise and locating the ironstone within the formation.

So, you can use the term “ironstone” and “sandstone” interchangably, although using “ironstone” is more descriptive of the type of sandstone to which you are referring.

Best regards,
Jerseyman
 

Kevinhooa

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Ironstone

Wow, thanks for all of that info Jerseyman. I figured they had to be pretty close to one another, but figured someone on here would know. It seems to be very unique to pine areas and is kind of neat to think you can build things with stone in an area with no rocks or mountains. I think it's really beautiful when used in homes and chimneys. And it seems like although most of it is smaller bits and pieces, some of the chunks we dug out of the ground for the foundation (with a tractor!) of the house I used to live in got as big as 5 feet in dia. and there could have been bigger. And the cliffs in the pit behind my house went from the white sand on the surface to orange, red, purple, brown, and then back to regular stoney gravel. Thanks again for the info.

Kevin
 
Kevin:

Not a problem. A review of New Jersey State Geological Survey annual reports and other volumes would yield much more information on the distribution of the Cohansey formation throughout southern New Jersey. I can tell you that in addition to the presence of ironstone in the Pines, it can be found in the adjacent areas. One of the eighteenth-century quarries I mentioned was in the Runnemede-Glendora section of Gloucester County. Ironstone can also be found in Pennsauken Township and on up into Burlington County as well. So, it does have a distribution beyond just the Pine Barrens.

Wow—it sounds like the pit behind your house was a veritable geological time machine with the stratigraphy you describe.

Best regards,
Jerseyman
 
Just a technicality, Jerseyman, but doesn't our Jersey ironstone range from sandstone to conglomerate? :science:
pineland:

You are 100% correct: cementation does occur in the formation of some South Jersey ironstone. As I said in the beginning of this thread, Spungman could answer this question with greater certitude, but he’s always too busy walking the local landscape with some crazy scientists and/or students. Sheesh!!

:rolleyes: :rolleyes: :rolleyes:

Best regards,
Jerseyman
 

Spung-Man

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Crawling out from under a rock…

Rockees and Rockettes!

Due to Jerseyman’s persistence in prodding, I must leave my studies to visit this vexing issue if only to cure my own scientific curiosity. This entails leaving my comfort zone to lurk in the land of petrology (i.e., rock origin and history). My real interest is cold climate phenomena associated with unconsolidated sediments. Rocks are of value to my work only because of their use as geological time travelers. Rock positions indicate long-term slope changes and rock surfaces bear scars from blowing sand and ice crystals under ice age polar desert-like climate (i.e., ventifacts).

There are several types of rocks native to southern New Jersey, and a number of exotic stones to large boulders that were scattered across the Pine Barrens, ether transported by strong current or river ice of the proto-Hudson during the Miocene. I present my opinion as to the nature of locally produced clasts, with the caveat that I do not have rocks in my head as my dear, dear friend Jerseyman suggests.

1) Ironstone – an iron rich sedimentary rock. In southern New Jersey, ironstone is associated with cementation of sands and gravels at a water table. Iron oxidizing bacteria are responsible for ironstone formation and the production of the tea-stain colored cedar water. We interpret the presence of foundered ironstone boulders as evidence of permafrost thaw in the Pine Barrens (more at my website).

2) Silcrete – a silica-hardened stone derived from sandy soil (i.e., a duricrust). This very hard rock is locally abundant at higher elevations of the Inner Coastal Plain, but I’ve seen fields of highly weathered silcrete scattered across parts of the Pine Barrens. You see it used in the foundations of various early Colonial structures across South Jersey. It is also known as cuesta quartzite, sarsen stone in Europe (e.g., Stonehenge) – pudding stone if pebbly, and billy rock in Australia.

3) Cohansey Quartzite – a less hard variant of the above sandstone containing seashells within its matrix. It is abundant in Cumberland and Salem Counties. Like silcrete, it was put to use for tool making by aboriginals. Dr. Alan Mounier wrote his recent dissertation on the native use of sandstones in southern New Jersey.

4) Ferricrete – an iron oxide hardened sandstone that formed in soil. Like silcrete above, ferricrete is a duricrust. In Africa and Australia, silcrete and ferricrete as found in close association, both believed to have formed under hot semiarid conditions millions of years ago. Ferricrete is scarce, but can be seen at PAWS animal refuge in Mt. Laurel side by side with silcrete and ironstone (see below).

French HM, Demitroff M. 2003. Late-Pleistocene periglacial phenomena in the Pine Barrens of southern New Jersey: GANJ Field Excursion Guide, October 11, 2003. In Hozik MJ, Mihalasky MJ (eds.). Field Guide and Proceedings, 20th Annual Meeting of the Geological Association of New Jersey, October 10-11, 2003. Trenton, NJ: Geological Society of New Jersey. pp. 117-142.

Friedman M. 1954. Miocene orthoquartzite from New Jersey. Journal of Sedimentary Petrology. 24, 4: 235-241.

Means JL, Yuretich RF, Crerar DA, Kinsman DJJ, Borcsik MP. 1981. Hydrogeochemistry of the New Jersey Pine Barrens. Bulletin 76, New Jersey Geological Survey, Trenton, NJ. 107 pp.

Mounier RA. 2008. The Aboriginal Exploitation of Cuesta Quartzite in Southern New Jersey. PhD dissertation, Memorial University, St. John’s, NFL.

Wyckoff JS, Newell WL. 1992. Silcrete near Woodstown, New Jersey. In Gohn GS. (ed.), Proceedings of the 1988 U.S. Geological Survey Workshop on the Geology and Geohydrology of the Atlantic Coastal Plain. United States Geological Survey, Circular 1059, Washington, DC, pp. 39-51.

Figure 1 The icehouse at PAWS Farm Nature Center in Mt. Laurel, NJ showing Professor Hugh French addressing attendees as to the significance of its walls. The largest darkest red blocks are interpreted as ferricrete, the gray stones silcrete, and the orangey-buff stones ironstone. This photograph was taken by Fred Akers 10/11/03 during the field excursion for the 20th Annual Meeting of the Geological Association of New Jersey – Periglacial Features of Southern New Jersey.
 

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Bravo, Spungman—bravo!!!

Your certitude shines through with great brilliance and you are the reigning ROCK STAR on these forums!!

You ARE THE MAN, but don’t get fatigued next weekend when you’re Russian around!!

Seriously, Mark, I knew you would come through with some good material and I appreciate you taking the time to do so!

Best regards,
Jerseyman
 

glowordz

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Okay y'all, I'm going to file this whole thread--I've been wondering too. Thanks to Spung-man for superb explication and to Jerseyman for provoking him. :)
And to Kevin for lighting a fire under both of them.

Glo
 

GermanG

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I’ve been following the sandstone/ironstone threads closely, hoping to clear up some of my own misconceptions, and appreciate the knowledgeable input. A nagging question of my own remains. I’ve always held that the bog iron ore that was raised from the wetlands to be melted in the furnaces is essentially the same as the ironstone dug from upland sources which was used for building, with the only difference being the amount of time since its formation. Exactly how off base am I on this? Are the two of different composition?
 

Spung-Man

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meadow ore

I’ve been following the sandstone/ironstone threads closely, hoping to clear up some of my own misconceptions, and appreciate the knowledgeable input.
GermanG,

In a pinch, I once held up a piece of Jersey ironstone when lecturing about savannah geomorphology and cultural use. Afterwards Ted Gordon politely reprimanded me for the misdeed, and rightly so! Hard Jersey-stone, rich in sand and pebbles, would have been a lousy grade ore. I apologized for being too lazy to locate a lump of meadow ore. Who else would know the difference but Ted! The botanist then recounted with remarkable eloquence a whole lexicon of ore-bed terminology. Wow, he’s good.

I’ve prefer to use the ancient catchall term meadow ore to describe the thick, heavy mud that was collected from savannah habitat and barged to the furnaces. To continue, I think it safest to quote Braddock-Rogers (1930: 1496),


“There were three kinds of ore which were generally found in each hole in the order named: the loam ore, the seed ore, and the massive ore. In some of the diggings only one or two of the varieties occurred, depending upon their age. The loam ore was the youngest; it was merely the infiltration of the iron precipitate into the soil or loam of the bog. As it aged and was built up the ore became more compact and heavy. In the center of many of the lumps, the mass possessed a crystalline structure which, if permitted to age, would have been completely replaced by iron oxide. Even though the change was complete, or nearly so, the mass had a honeycomb or sieve-like structure. That which was partly changed from the loam to the seed ore was greatly preferred by the furnace operators because it was the best for easy reduction.”


I hope this helps.

Spung-Man

Braddock-Rogers K. 1930. The bog ore industry in South Jersey prior to 1845. Journal of Chemical Education. 7, 7: 1493-1519.
 

LARGO

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Rockees and Rockettes!
Figure 1 The icehouse at PAWS Farm Nature Center in Mt. Laurel, NJ showing Professor Hugh French addressing attendees as to the significance of its walls. The largest darkest red blocks are interpreted as ferricrete, the gray stones silcrete, and the orangey-buff stones ironstone. This photograph was taken by Fred Akers 10/11/03 during the field excursion for the 20th Annual Meeting of the Geological Association of New Jersey – Periglacial Features of Southern New Jersey.
Not one to dare convey the characteristics of rocks, stones, pebbles, boulders, meadow muffins and the like accurately, I offer the following as another lookee see. I've a whole 'nother thread on it but here.


By far one of the biggest things locally I've ever seen made of like (or unlike if you prefer to disagree) Stone. Happens to be a stone's throw from my home. Darn good shape it's in.


We also happen to have a little (very little) icehouse up the road a piece made of similar stuff.

And then there's this.



Both seem to have at least some of the junk in them discussed here no?

g.
 

Spung-Man

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Pinelands silcrete in its native state

In the Pines there are scattered silcrete exposures. Many a farmer behind a horse-drawn plow flipped over when their coulter (cutting point) or ploughshare unexpectedly struck one of these rocks. The original photo is temporarily misplaced, so this printed copy from field notes will have to do for now. The Figure shows advanced weathering occurred to the stones’ surface. This form of silcrete is believed to derive from an upper soil crust, which hardened through mineral accumulation under a hot semiarid climatic condition. Dimples are interpreted as silicified fossil root holes that further modified into pits called opferkessel (after similarly shaped copper kettles that Druids when “drinking fermented fluids” boiled their victims within).

Figure 1 An Atlantic County farmer collecting silcrete cobbles, which are abundantly scattered across the surface of his pasture, near Mays Landing, NJ.
 

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Spung-Man

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Russian around

don’t get fatigued next weekend when you’re Russian around!!
Jerseyman,

I eagerly await the visit of my Russian colleague Dmitry and his girlfriend. My wife, Pat, Pat – the Water Rat, will be our kayaking guide. The guests wish to see blue holes and savannah habitat. We finish the field day with local BBQ that will be carefully paired with Unibroue’s Maudite (the damned) Ale to wash it down.

The “Duke” recently opened a BBQ stand in Richland, bringing back a venerable Black tradition popularized by the Kingfish. Charles ("Kingfish") Bryant, who years back worked at our feed mill, would not share his family Pine Barrens recipe when I interviewed him a month before he died. Charles was born May 15, 1933 (so they say – no birth certificate) in a cabin way back in the black community of Bears Head (named for the head pond [spung] of Bears Branch). The family shack was converted into a smokehouse when the adjacent new home was erected in the late 30s.

Charles’s wife’s kin (the Duke's Auntie) settled around Mizpah in the 20s, emigrants from the South Carolina/Georgia borderland. Rib's from Mizpah differ from Richland ribs, still good though. We would buy Richland ribs from my tobacco-chewing neighbors Daisy and Aydele during their annual Women's Auxiliary cookout (c. 1960s). I recently discovered that their W.A. was fabricated cover for another event. Its real intent was to signal to the black community that a soothsayer was in town.

Otherwise ribs rarely made it into the white realm. Instead BBQ was the fare of speakeasies and "coloured" gunning clubs. Duke's Auntie Fanny tried to retail Mizpah style ribs out of a little cinder-block shack on US 40 (c. 1960s). Her graffiti-like wall paint advertising style left an indelible image in my mind. I must find a photograph of Fanny's "Big Eats!" Kingfish was nicknamed by my sister-in-law's Uncle Cesto for a type of mackerel that Charles purveyed, and has nothing to do with the radio character. "Hey King, … King Kingfish" he’d say in his South Jersey Italian accent. Now we have the Duke! There’s an incredible legacy of Black Pinelands culture worthy of our celebration.

Spung-Man
 

MarkBNJ

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We used to get the best barbeque in Lawnside back in the day, from those shacks right along Evesham, I think. Somebody told me they're all gone, now, but I haven't been down there in 20 years. Not exactly Pine Barrens lore, but tasty for sure!
 

Teegate

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We used to get the best barbeque in Lawnside back in the day, from those shacks right along Evesham, I think. Somebody told me they're all gone, now, but I haven't been down there in 20 years. Not exactly Pine Barrens lore, but tasty for sure!
Some are still there, just not in business. That area is about to change. They are going to build new stores across the street.

Guy
 

glowordz

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The “Duke” recently opened a BBQ stand in Richland, bringing back a venerable Black tradition

Spung-Man
My thanks to you also, Spung-Man, for your input.
--Plus the tasty morsel above. I usually drive in through Richland (ice cream, anyone?) following the family tradition; now we can stop for barbeque as well. My husband will love this news.

Glo
 

Spung-Man

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Here yes!

Both seem to have at least some of the junk in them discussed here no?

g.
Largo,

Yes, from the photographs your walls appear to be built of darker colored ironstone and lighter colored silcrete. Way cool. Do you know the age of the shown structures? Are the stones reused from older buildings? We really don’t know much about duricrusts in NJ. Smaller manageable blocks were quite desirable building material and I would suppose easy picking’s would have quickly disappeared in Colonial times. Silcrete is very hard rock, and difficult to dress. Large blocks were not worth the trouble to cleave since unyielding amorphous silicates massively bound rock grains. Native Americans used fire to crack silcrete blocks for lithic use, with dedicated quarries scattered along higher cappings of the Outer Coastal Plain.

Spung-Man
 

imkms

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Settlers Inn in Medford

Does anyone remember the old Settlers Inn in Medford, and particularly it's huge stone fireplace. That fireplace was built by my father in law (who was a young teenager at the time) and his father and brothers (all stone masons). They got the stones by chipping out pieces from one huge stone from a field in Marlton. I believe that fireplace was the largest free standing "jersey stone" fireplace in the country.
The left over stones remained in a pile in my Father in Laws yard for 50 years and I was lucky enough to use them to build my own stone fireplace.