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Geology of the Rock
by Ann White Lombardi

Recently, Shelley Wheeler-Carreiro, with the assistance of Kristen Swartz, videographer and senior at Quinnipiac University, has been busy producing two documentaries on Peter’s Rock to be aired on WTNH TV. With the help of the Peter’s Rock Association, she has documented the history of the land, the present trail system, the community organic garden, as well as the geology of the park, which will be presented in a half-hour documentary. She has taped Walter Brockett from the North Haven Historical Society about the history of Peter’s Rock, Audrey McClure from the Peter’s Rock Association about reminiscences, Ann Lombardi from the Peter’s Rock Association about the trails, Hugh Davis, also from the Association, about the garden, and Copeland MacClintock about the geology. The second documentary will be an hour- long overview of just the geology.

We are fortunate to have local geologist, Copeland MacClintock, from the Peabody Museum, to educate us on the geologic history of Peter’s Rock. MacClintock’s invaluable knowledge of the New Haven ridge system is the basis of the documentary. According to him the geologic history takes us all the way back to the Big Bang, the origin of the supercontinent of Pangaea, and into the late Triassic/early Jurassic period, the age of the rocks at Peters Rock. Many of you may be familiar with the Jurassic dinosaur fossils in Rocky Hill, but seldom think of the geology that is right in our own backyard. MacClintock takes us on a trek through the park, pointing out the various rock types, ridges and remnants of early trap rock activity in the park. He ties our “rock” in with those in the New Haven rift valley, which include East Rock, West Rock, Sleeping Giant and the Hanging Hills of Meriden. To those who have been to the summit, you have observed the panoramic view of this valley with the rock ridges bordering the perimeter. MacClintock also points out three different trap rock features, their patterns of erosion, as well as the geology of the well near the intersection of the red, green and orange trails.

When completed, the documentaries will be a treasured addition to our understanding of a notable landmark in the town of North Haven. Thanks go out to all those who have participated in this project.


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