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Geology of Pennsylvania

The varied geology of Pennsylvania is representative of deep geologic times and events -- when geologic plates collided and formed mountains, when the land surface was under water or ice, and even during relatively quiet times.

The different landforms across Pennsylvania reflect these tectonic, erosional, and depositional processes, as well as the influence of the underlying bedrock. Geoheritage sites showcase outstanding places that illustrate many key geologic concepts.

Explore the geology of Pennsylvania through the related links and in these recommended resources:

  • The Geological Story of Pennsylvania (PDF) -- an educational series booklet that reviews the geologic history of the state, as well as its landforms, mineral resources, geologic hazards, and environmental concerns
  • Bedrock Geology of Pennsylvania (ZIP) -- statewide, 1:250,000-scale GIS datasets of geologic units, geologic contacts, dikes, and faults that were compiled with minor revisions from the 1980 state geologic map
  • Pennsylvania Geological Survey Publications (ZIP) -- descriptive list of geologic reports and maps published by the survey that includes links to publication files
  • Pennsylvania Geological Survey Magazine (PDF) -- links to issues of Pennsylvania Geology, which contains articles and announcements related to the geology of the state
  • The Geology of Pennsylvania -- an 888-page, comprehensive book about Pennsylvania geology; 90 authors from academia, industry, and government contributed to this special publication, which can be purchased from the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission
  • PaGEODE -- Pennsylvania GEOlogic Data Exploration website can be used for geographic exploration of the state's physiographic provinces, bedrock and surficial geology, outstanding geologic features, and publications