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

Click here to see all news

AMC Hosts The Circuit Trails Visual Assesment Study Webinar

On Wednesday, April 24th, Appalachian Mountain Club hosted a webinar to present its comprehensive visual assessment project of 30 Circuit Trails in PA and NJ. Read More

AMC and Lehigh Partner on Saucon Park Signage Project

AMC partnered with Lehigh University to design and install two interpretive signs in Saucon Park in the City of Bethlehem. The signs interpret natural and historical features location in the park.   Read More

AMC Completes Study of 30 Circuit Trails

Visual Assessment Project AMC has completed its Visual Assessment Study, “Protecting Significant Views Along The Circuit: A Visual Assessment of Land Conservation Priorities for Viewsheds Along The Circuit Trails.” With funding from the William Penn Foundation, AMC and project participants studied thirty Circuit Trails in Pennsylvania and New Jersey with the goal of determining locations of unprotected parcels within key trail viewsheds.  Read More

Congress Passes Permanent Reauthorization of LWCF

After allowing the Land and Water Conservation Fund to expire on September 30, 2018, all eyes have been on Congress as PA Highlands Coalition partners and conservation advocates across the country worked to permanently reauthorize the program and to secure full and dedicated funding. Read More