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 Hosts Webinar on Multi-Functional Buffers

On June 12th, the PA Highlands Coalition held a webinar on multi-functional riparian stream buffers. This webinar focused on the ways conservation groups can encourage buffer planting for landowners, the concept of agroforestry, and recent DCNR grants for riparian buffers. Read More

South Bethlehem Greenway Gets New Kiosk

AMC partnered with the city of Bethlehem and the Southside Arts District to design and install a new interpretive kiosk along the South Bethlehem Greenway. Read More

PA Highlands Coalition to Host Multi-functional Riparian Buffer Webinar

The PA Highlands Coalition will be hosting a webinar titled “Multi-functional Riparian Buffers – A new and collaborative approach to land and water conservation” on June 12th, 2018 at 10:30am.  Read More

Public-Private Partnership Provides New Trailhead Signs at Ringing Rocks

Bucks County, the D&L National Heritage Corridor, Bridgeton Township and the Appalachian Mountain Club recently teamed to design and install directional and interpretive signage at a new trailhead in Bridgeton Township. Read More