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   NJ 'traprock'                                                  Page 1


   'Traprock' is a quarryman's term for the igneous formations in the

    rift basin exposed in northeastern and central New Jersey and

    southeastern Pennsylvania. These igneous formations are interbed-

    ded with sandstones ('brownstone') and shales that contain fossils

    of upper Triassic to lower Jurassic age, around 180 million to 200

    million years old. They consist of basalt lava flows exposed in the

    Watchung ridges and the diabase sill forming the Palisades. The rift

    system in New Jersey and Pennsylvania is part of a series of rifts

    exposed along the east coast of North America from Nova Scotia to

    North Carolina. Other rift basins lie buried further south. Current

    theory is that these rifts were formed during the initial separation of

    North America and Africa that resulted in the formation of the

    present-day Atlantic Ocean. As the continents pulled apart, the

    basins between were filled by sediments shed from those continents.

    This rifting was accompanied by igneous activity as upwelling mag-

    ma was the driving process that  produced the basins. In fact, the

    same 'spreading centers' are active today at the Mid-Atlantic Ridge.

    The Watchung basalts were apparently erupted into large freshwater

    lakes, similar to those of east Africa, as evidenced by the the forma-

    tion of  'pillow lavas'.  'Pillow lava' is a structural formation in a lava

    flow, consisting of  rounded masses of lava ('pillows'), that is char-

    acteristic of lava erupted into water. This structure leaves large open-

    ings between the 'pillows' which allow large mineral crystals to grow.

    Solutions of varying composition circulating through the lava flows

    have deposited a large variety of minerals in these cavities. The

    specimens on these pages are a small sample of that variety.   


Mineral Specimens - Natrolite, Upper New St Quarry, Paterson, NJ




  Upper New Street Quarry,

  Paterson, Passaic County, NJ, USA

  Unusual group of eroded composite natrolite




 Specimen size -  approx.  11 cm.  X  8 cm.  X  6.8 cm.


Mineral Specimens - Prehnite, Calcite, Lower New St Quarry, Paterson, NJ



  Lower New Street Quarry,

  Paterson, Passaic County, NJ, USA 

  White calcite crystals on green prehnite





 Specimen size - approx. 11.5 cm.  X   11 cm.  X  8 cm.



Mineral Specimens - Apophyllite, Prospect Park, NJ




  Prospect Park, Passaic County, NJ,


  Group of large, white apophyllite crystals on

   balls of radiating pectolite.



 Specimen size  - approx. 10 cm.  X  9 cm.  X  6.7 cm.


 Mineral Specimens - Stilbite, 'Summit Quarry', Springfield, NJ



  Houdaille Quarry, Springfield,

  Union County, NJ, USA 

  This locality is usually referred to as 'Summit'

  but the quarry is actually located in Springfield.

  A ball of pale brown stilbite.


 Specimen size  - approx. 6.5 cm.  X  6 cm.  X  6 cm.



Mineral Specimens - Agate, UBC Quarry, Great Notch, NJ



  UBC Quarry, Great Notch,

  Passaic County, NJ, USA 

  Unusual fortification agate from the New

  Jersey traprock.




Specimen size  - approx. 6.2 cm.  X  5 cm.  X  5 cm.



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