Garnets in the Fairmount Park area of Philadelphia Pennsylvania

We just love the city of brotherly love and you can discover a beautiful feature of this area, the mica schist deposits running through this area, outcropping all over the Fairmount Park area and beyond. There is Wissahickon formation schist all over the place, not all of it has garnets and they never get big, but having one as a reference sample and visiting this area are well worth the time spent.

ducks in fairmount park
Ducks lined up by the Wissahickon Creek

While we have visited many outcrops of rocks around the area, the one where we took these photos is by the wissahickon creek, just north of the free public parking area by the Vallery Green Inn.

View Fairmount Park Garnet Deposit in a larger map

This area is beautiful and you can see blocks of Wissahickon schist used for building stone, with garnets poking out of some of the blocks. There is a beautiful stone bridge there, along with all sorts of birds, small animals, providing a beautiful setting just outside the city. We went down to the wissahickon creek, descending on the west side of the bank. Trails form around the creek, revealing water worn mica chunks with garnets sticking out. The red color is interesting, but few if any are of any gem quality, they are simply a mineralogical interest item and a beautiful example of a mica schist. Philadelphia is a beautiful city and this deposit of Kyanite is just one more great reason to visit! Check out Hotels.com for great deals on hotel rooms in Philadephia!

down by the wissahickon creek
A view from the trails by the Wissahickon Creek
Friends of Wheretofindrocks.com collecting garnets
Looking through the rocks down by the creekside
a tiny gemmy red garnet in matrix
A tiny gem red garnet in matrix
typical size of mica and garnet specimen
A rockhammer to show you the typical size and color of the garnet baring mica schist
flipping over rocks at the wissahickon creek
Finding a good specimen takes luck
Having fun looking at rocks in philadelphia
A beautiful setting for a nature outing, the mica schist of the Wissahickon Creek is a great way to spend an afternoon!

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Sideling Hill – A Cross Cut View of the Fossil Rich Shale in Maryland and Pennsylvania

Fossils are plentiful in the shale deposits all around the mid-Atlantic states. Without getting technical, shells of a variety of marine animals are found in the shale, readily accessible via road cuts and rock quarries around Western Maryland, central Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

Sideling Hill is a wonderful example of the typical construct of the rolling hills of the area.

Sideling Hill Roadcut

The tight bands of rock layers, along with the HUGENESS of the roadcut are fascinating. The layers of the mountain are very interesting, consisting of alternating bands of shale and big bands of alluvial conglomerate. The top layer of shale is also coal rich, which is thickest on the north side of the road cut. You can see the dark layer towards the very top of the hill.

Sideling Hill Roadcut front view

The rest area used to host a Geological Center, a fun place to check out, a place to stop and view this geological wonder and find out a little more about the earth around us.

Sideling Hill Rest Area

The Geological Center is closed now, but the exhibits have been moved to Hancock Maryland.

Sideling Hill Geological Center

A short distance away in Pennsylvania, we found several shale deposits on the side of back country roads.

Typical Shale Road Cut in Pennsylvania

Any place you can find loose shale, if you flip over a few pieces, often, fossils will be found.

Shale Debris With Fossils

The shale from this area breaks up into small bits. That makes big matrix specimens very uncommon!

Rockhammer and Shale Chips

Brachiopod specimens are very common through out the area, along with tightly wound trilobite specimens.

Fossils shells found in shale deposit

Packing the specimens is a delicate job, so a roll of toilet paper for wrapping is always handy!

packing up fossils found in pennsylvania

Bi-valve fossils, Gastropods and many others, all found swimming around in the soup of the Devonian era!

fossil shell found in shale

At this road cut, randomly, a vug of quartz was found, breaking up into oddly shaped crystals.

quartz crystals found in shale deposit

So, do not be afraid to stop and check out any exposed shale in the mid-Atlantic states! Often times, simply flipping over some loose shale chunks will reveal a trilobite, a gastropod or a cluch of Brachiopods!

shale deposit with fossils

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