Delaware mineralogical society

A Delaware 501(c)(3) non-profit earth-science educational organization


National Limestone Quarry, Mount Pleasant Mills, PA


Saturday, October 5, 2019 at 9:45am SHARP!:

We have been invited by the mineral club of North Jersey to join them on a trip to the National
Limestone Quarries and the Friend of Mineralogy NJ (Middleburg in the am and Mt. Pleasant Mills in the pm).

Meeting Time --- Meet at the Quarry Office parking lot at Middleburg Quarry, 3499 Quarry Rd., Middleburg, PA at 9:45 a.m. (no later!!) for listening to owner’s Christian testimony (his personal requirement as the cost of admission), a Safety Briefing and signing waiver forms. We plan to break for lunch together at 1 pm noon, then drive 8 miles to Mt. Pleasant Quarry, 217 Quarry Rd., Mt. Pleasant Mills, PA 17853

Trip Leader --- Dave Shapiro for NJMS/FoMNJ. ?????? for DMS/FoMPa

Location --- Our first 3 hours will be at will be at Middleburg Quarry, 3499 Quarry Rd., Middleburg, PA 17842. and our second 3 hours National Limestone Quarry, 217 Quarry Rd., Mt. Pleasant Mills, PA 17853

Directions --- (recommend follow directions from MapQuest)

Special Requirements --- 1st, The road to the small wavellite area is on the back side of a ridge behind the Mt. Pleasant Quarry and is one way and narrow --- we may have to take turns digging.

2nd , The quarry owner collects rocks and would appreciate the gift of any labeled specimens.

3rd, kids (8 years old minimum and be a club member) are allowed, but must be closely supervised on a ratio of 1 parent per 1 kid (max) and remain next to their parent at all times.

Safety --- steel-toed boots, hardhat, safety glasses, long pants, heavy gloves and bright colored safety vest. Stay clear of all high walls.

Note to Experienced members --- please keep a watch on all of us and say something to those who may not recognize danger before they get into trouble.

What to Collect --- Mt. Pleasant Mills Quarry --- Strontianite, Calcite, Dolomite, sometimes Fluorite --- and Wavellite. Strontianite is best found by breaking open likely looking rocks. A LARGE sledge hammer is helpful. Strontianite is DELICATE. Bring toilet paper/old newspaper to wrap your specimens in. On the top of the ridge, above/behind the quarry, we can dig for Wavellite. Wavellite is found on chunks of limestone/sandstone, which is loose and covered with red dirt/mud. You may need to dig down through several feet of this material to find the “layer” that contains the best wavellite. A short shovel and a pry bar/digging bar help. A garden scratcher is good. Wavellite is best found by wetting promising looking specimens and brushing off the red clay/mud with a stiff scrub brush. Bring a bucket and fill it with water at the office/trailer. These specimens should be wrapped carefully, too. There are also fossils in the same pit with the Wavellite, Brachiopods and moonsnails seem to be most common. On occasion some rarer minerals have been found here as micros ---Variscite and Turquoise.

Middleburg Quarry --- Lots of recent quarry activity in this quarry, so our best bet for finding calcite xls. Calcite and Fluorite are the most abundant. Also (fluorescent) flowstone (travertine stalagmites from ancient limestone caverns) and several minerals. Sphalerite and galena (other sulfides) have also been found there as micros.

Equipment/ clothing --- Full safety gear for everyone at all times --- steel toed shoes/boots, safety glasses, hardhat, work gloves, long pants. Recommended tools --- rock hammer, 3 - 4 pound crack hammer, chisels, stiff scrub brush, garden scratcher, 5 gal. bucket, old newspaper for wrapping specimens, small pry bar. Optional -- large sledge hammer, long pry bar, extra buckets, loupe/magnifying glass. Your best tools are sharp eyes. Clothing depends on the weather --- long sleeves are recommended. Rain poncho nice to have.

Quarry Description / Hints --- Both quarries are limestone quarries mined for material to be crushed for road construction and riprap. Hint ---Carefully search and investigate anything that is different.

Vehicles --- We will be allowed to drive our vehicles into both quarries.

Misc. --- Drinking water, sunscreen, bug spray, lunch/snacks, "Thank" the quarry owner. Bring a camera and take some pictures for our Newsletter.

****If FoMPa and DMS members sign up and later find that cannot make the trip, call or email Tom at 302 766 0127 . Attendance is limited and we might have a ‘waiting list’.

Sign-up: Please contact Tom Pankratz at

I’ll confirm your registration with a return email. If you don’t receive confirmation, please re-contact me.


These are great collecting sites for calcite, strontianite, celestite, fluorite, wavellite, quartz, cacoxenite, and strengite. These last two only occur as microminerals so bring a hand magnifier. The Mount Pleasant Mills No. 2 quarry also host a good selection of Devonian age marine fossils: brachiopods, gastropods, & trilobites.
Full Safety gear is required for everyone (hard hat, safety glasses, safety boots, long pants, safety vest.)

Children over 10 years old, with full safety gear (helmet, long pants, steel-toed boots, and eye protection) and accompanied by a parent are permitted.
See attached rules and bring a signed, dated waiver when you show up at 0830.
RSVP to me (Tom) by 9pm on Thursday, May 11, 2017.


Past recollections:

We've now been to the MPM quarry twice in the past 2 years and have had fantastic collecting for wavellite up on the sandstone ridge. And those with a good eye for invertebrate fossils have done very well also. Getting the really great wavellite requires some major digging but it's well worth it. We've also done well on both calcite and fluorite down in the main quarry. Last spring a few of us went over to the Middleburg Quarry for a short exploratory visit. We easily found abundant calcite, fluorite and cave formation rock. If I were going on this trip I would want to spend my entire day at Middleburg (having already gotten super wavellite specimens). But I will not be on this trip. I will select a DMS Group leader from those who sign up. I will take care of getting the co-insurance and any other paperwork.

Read the invitation below. And you MUST reply to Jonathan Harris by email that you accept and agree to abide by the Rules and Guidelines, and the waiver of liability. Please respond to me if you wish to participate in the trip. I'll forward attendees names to Jonathan a week or so before the trip. Finally, Bill Stephens is going to dedicate a meeting to discuss the geology and mineralogy of wavellite at this site at our November 9 meeting.

Here is the invitation from Jonathan Harris On Saturday September 26, we have a field-trip opportunity to collect at the National Limestone Quarry at Mt. Pleasant Mills . If there is sufficient interest, then it is likely we can all go to the nearby Middleburg Quarry. This is a great site for wavellite, strontianite, fluorite (purple masses) and more recently varascite and turquoise. Collectors should bring a specimen from some other location for Eric Stahl, the manager of National Limestone Quarry. If the operator blasts in certain sections, celestite and sphalerite might also be found.

The trip will start at 9am at the quarry office. Mt. Pleasant Mills is about 3-3.5 hours away, but it is worth it! Children are permitted 10 and older, but a parent must stay near and supervise their children and leave the quarry with them if they get too restless to be safe. We can accommodate members of the Delaware, Northern Virginia, and Southern Maryland clubs on this. Those interested in the wavellite should bring good digging equipment.

Please RSVP by the Wednesday before the trip. Quarries are now often requesting that we have a minimum number of people so that their employees' time will be used effectively. Thus it is important that people who sign up on these and other trips attend.

Please respond to me by email ( if you wish to join this trip.  If I don't confirm your sign-up by email in a few days, email me again.  Specific details will be sent to those who sign up a week or so before the trip.

Here's a trip report by Joseph Bytella that pretty much tells what we can expect at this site.  This article may be found at


Trip Report for National Limestone Quarry in Mount Pleasant Mills, PA

By Joseph Bytella

The Southern Maryland Rock and Mineral Club conducted a field trip to the National Limestone Quarry in Mount Pleasant Mills, Pennsylvania on Saturday Oct. 2, 2010. Dave Lines was the trip coordinator and leader. The field trip was attended by nine of our club members and five members from the Northern Virginia Club.

Dave greeted the attendees at the quarry entrance between 9:00 – 9:30 AM, then we were briefed by the Eric Stahl (quarry owner) in a field trailer about safety procedures and the minerals typically encountered in the quarry, e.g., wavellite, calcite and strontianite. Wavellite is a rare mineral (Al3[(OH,F)3(PO4)].5H2O), whose only other noted location in the United States is in the state of Arkansas.

After the safety briefing, most of the group members mined a loose outcrop of wavellite in a coarse sandstone matrix. Sledge hammer and chisel were required to expose the small green veins of wavellite. Most of the mineral specimen crystals were only 1 to 2 mm in diameter.

Later in the day, we mined the loose limestone boulders in another location in the quarry and found numerous pockets of calcite crystals, and some pockets yielded rare double-terminated calcite crystals. A few club members found fossilized coral and brachiopods in the excavated limestone boulders which originated from the Silurian and Devonian eras.

The wavellite deposit is not in the main quarry --- rather, it is located in a tiny outcrop on the backside near the top of the mountain (ridge) where the quarry is. Accessible only by a very narrow road which had been bulldozed along a steep mountainside, the wavellite "pit" is a half moon shaped affair that appears to have been scooped out with a frontend loader or a dozer for about 50 feet long and 20-30 feet back into the mountain. The back side is sloped about 45 degrees. The matrix is weathered sandstone/limestone with some visible fossils such as moonsnail gastropods. The highly fractured matrix is interspersed with red clay and red dirt.

The wavellite is generally in thin veins in the rock and seemed to be covered with and/or stained by the red mud. Since the area had received a deluge of 8 inches of rain the day before, the rocks on the surface were washed clean. Pale yellow-green wavellite was readily visible on at least 1% of the matrix in the form of little half-spheres ranging from 1/8 to 3/8 inches in diameter. The key to finding more wavellite (after the easy stuff was picked up) was to scrub (with a stiff brush) the mud from each and every surface of the rock matrix pieces in a bucket of water --- and to look for the shape --- round half spheres --- of the wavellite. (Note: At home, Super Iron Out seemed to remove most of the red/brown stain from the wavellite.)

About ten of the attendees worked the wavellite pit for a few hours, then all but three moved back to the main quarry. The three who remained stayed until 2:30 p.m. and were able to search more carefully and safely use sledges and chisels to split open any yellow-green seams of the wavellite. They were sometimes rewarded with pockets of red mud which covered the wavellite spheres. Some of the pockets also contained small quartz crystals interspersed with the wavellite.

The best wavellite specimen I saw was a plate about 3 inches by 4 inches covered with ¼ inch green wavellite spheres and it was found on the mountainside below the pit in thick brush.