Pennsylvania Highlands Geology

The Pennsylvania Highlands are the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. The irregular ridges and deep valleys of this unique landscape feature common themes that reflect the region’s geology, which has influenced local history and land use. Much of the Pennsylvania Highlands are comprised of the Reading Prong Geologic Formation. The Reading Prong is found primarily in Berks, Bucks, Montgomery, and Northampton Counties.

Two types of rock are common to the erosion resistant, largely forested ridges of the Pennsylvania Highlands: diabase (basalt), and granitic gneiss and quartzite (see map). The diabase areas create natural limitations for agriculture and land development, due to the size and abundance of boulders. As a result, these areas feature large contiguous woodlands such as Hopewell Big Woods and Unami Hills.

The high iron content in the gneiss and quartzite rock ridges provided the raw material for the region’s industrial legacy of iron and steel. This legacy is reflected in the names of towns, historic sites and parks found throughout all thirteen counties of the Pennsylvania Highlands region: places such as Durham Furnace, Coventry Forge, Hopewell Furnace, Johanna Furnace, Cornwall Furnace, and Pine Forge Furnace. The unique combination of forests, rocky hills, historic sites, industrial towns, and fertile limestone valleys makes for a compelling story to be told through interpretive signage and online tools, enhancing the experience of trail users.

News

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PA Highlands Coalition to Host Return on Environment Webinar

The PA Highlands Coalition will be hosting a webinar titled “What is nature worth? Return on environment studies and the economic value of the outdoors” on Monday, December 10th at 10am.  Read More

Highlands Trail Stewards Training and Work Day

AMC hosted a trail building workshop with hands on experience for the Highlands Trail Stewards in Ringing Rocks County Park on Sunday, November 4th. Read More

PA Highlands Coalition Sponsors Third Annual Legislative Breakfast

On Friday October 26th, the PA Highlands Coalition was happy to sponsor a legislative breakfast panel with the Schuylkill Highlands Conservation Landscape and its partners at the Connections on High Café in Pottstown.  Read More

PA Highlands Trail Signage Installation Underway in Quakertown

PA Highlands Trails signage marking the PHTN route through Quakertown is being installed in the Borough.  Read More