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The upper reaches of the Big Flat Brook drainage, northwest of Kittatinny Mountain, contain a variety of glacial, pro-glacial, and periglacial deposits from the Late Quaternary. The area is dominated by recessional moraines and ubiquitous ground moraine, along with meltwater deposits, drumlins, and possible postglacial periglacial features. We have identified a curious boulder-rich deposit in the vicinity of Lake Ocquittunk and Lake Wapalanne on upper Big Flat Brook. The area where these boulder deposits occur is mapped (1:24,000 surficial geology) as till. As mapped and observed, larger cobbles and boulders within the till are quartz-pebble conglomerate, quartzite, sandstone, and shale. The boulder-rich deposits differ from the typical till, however. Unlike the local till, which is more mixed in lithology, the boulder deposits are nearly exclusively Shawangunk conglomerate. The deposits are discontinuous, but appear to occur at a topographic level above the meltwater stream terraces. The boulders in the deposits lie partially embedded in soil, but are very closely spaced. The boulders range in size from ~20cm to over 100cm, and present a subrounded to subangular shape. There appears to be a fabric orientation of the boulders, NE-SW, with subsidiary orientations. As the boulder deposits differ from other mapped features in the area, we attempt to ascertain the origin for the deposits. Unique moraine dynamics, meltwater flood, periglacial slope movement, and slope-snow bank processes are possible explanations. Detailed examination of these boulder deposits will provide a finer explanation of the glacial and post-glacial geomorphic history of the area.


This article was originally published in The Middle States Geographer.

Published Citation

Pope, G. A., Temples, A. J., McLearie, S. I., Kornoelje, J. C., & Glynn, T. J. (2009). The nature of boulder-rich deposits in the upper Big Flat Brook drainage, Sussex County, New Jersey. The Middle States Geographer, 42, 33-43.