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Publications and Data

The Pennsylvania Geological Survey has been collecting and disseminating geologic and topographic data since the First Pennsylvania Geological Survey was formed in 1836.

Over the years, hundreds of reports and maps were printed and published, many in cooperation with the U.S. Geological Survey. The current (fourth) series of publications includes printed and digital products, mostly technical but also many popular and educational in scope.

statewide geologic map and gis data

Probably the survey’s most popular dataset, Bedrock Geology of Pennsylvania (ZIP) is a 1:250,000-scale statewide coverage consisting of ArcGIS shapefiles for geologic units, geologic contacts, dikes, and faults. This dataset was created and slightly modified from the source materials used for Map 1, Geologic Map of Pennsylvania (ZIP).

Pennsylvania Geology Magazine

Pennsylvania Geology is a free online magazine published by the DCNR Bureau of Topographic and Geologic Survey. It includes articles on the geology of Pennsylvania, earth science education, and topographic mapping, and announcements of new publications, conferences, and other geologic and topographic items of interest.

To receive a hyperlink to each new issue as it becomes available, email the Pennsylvania Geological Survey. To view past editions of the magazine, use the hyperlinks provided in this list of magazine volumes (PDF).

Obtaining Geological Publications


Most Fourth Pennsylvania Geological Survey publications are available as ZIP or PDF files. Pennsylvania Geological Survey Publications (ZIP) contains publication information, including hyperlinks to the reports. Reports can also be selected and downloaded through geographical searches on PaGEODE.

In Libraries

Almost all formal Pennsylvania Geological Survey publications can be borrowed from the survey library or through an interlibrary loan.

Free Publications

Free publications that are still in print may be ordered from the Pennsylvania Geological Survey by email. These include most of the:

  • Educational series booklets
  • Park guides (now part of the trail of geology series)
  • Page-size maps
  • Poster maps
  • Information circulars

When emailing your request, please include:

  • The publication series and number abbreviation
  • The quantity you desire
  • The ship-to address
  • A telephone number where you can be reached if necessary
  • If requesting classroom quantities, please provide the school affiliation

The Geology of Pennsylvania

Special Publication 1, The Geology of Pennsylvania, can be purchased online from the Pennsylvania Historical Museum Commission.

Geologic Publications

The Pennsylvania Geological Survey publishes a number of reports that are assigned to different series according to their content, technical complexity, and intended audience. The series of publications are as follows:

  • Atlas Series -- Technical reports on the geology and mineral resources of areas of approximately 50 to 200 square miles. Most of the reports include a book and at least one large-scale, full-color geologic map.
  • County Reports -- Technical reports on the geology and mineral resources of counties. These include a book and at least one large-scale, full-color geologic map.
  • Educational Series -- Popular booklets containing introductory material on various aspects of geology for the student and the interested adult.
  • Environmental Geology Reports -- Reports on the relationship of geology to human activities, including topics such as engineering and construction, land-use planning, waste disposal, landslides, and scenery.
  • General Geology Reports -- Publications on a variety of topics, including stratigraphy, paleontology, mineralogy, speleology, and areal geology.
  • Information Circulars -- Technical reports that focus primarily on the annual status of the state's nonfuel mineral industries from 1951 through 1987. Brief reports on stratigraphy and petrology are also included in this series.
  • Maps -- Geologic, lithologic, topographic, physiographic, and resource maps at various scales.
  • Mineral Resource Reports -- Detailed technical reports on various mineral resources, as well as maps and summaries of regional and statewide data.
  • Miscellaneous Papers -- Reports on the activities of the Pennsylvania Geological Survey from 1919 through 1944.
  • Open-File Reports -- Informal reports and maps on a variety of geologic topics, including bedrock and surficial geology, sinkholes and karst-related features, oil and gas, and lake depths in state parks.
  • Progress Reports -- Annual publications on the status of the state's oil and gas industry from 1950 through 1991, and brief technical reports on economic resources and various other topics.
  • Special Bulletins -- Maps pertaining to the state's oil and gas industry; brief reports on stratigraphy.
  • Special Publication -- Geological publication appropriately titled The Geology of Pennsylvania. An 888-page hardbound book copublished with the Pittsburgh Geological Society.
  • Trail of Geology Series -- Nontechnical publications describing the geology of selected Pennsylvania state parks, trails, and points of interest.
  • Water Resource Reports -- Technical reports on the groundwater resources of areas, commonly defined on a countywide basis. Most of these reports include a book and a large-scale, full-color geologic map.

Databases and GIS Datasets

GIS datasets are included with many of the geologic maps and reports released since the year 2000.

Databases exist for the following:

PaGEODE Web-Mapping Application

PaGEODE stands for Pennsylvania GEOlogic Data Exploration. In addition to the publication-searching capability mentioned above, it can be used for geographical searches of Pennsylvania Geological Survey data. With PaGEODE, GIS datasets related to bedrock or surficial geology, mineral resources, or geologic hazards can be viewed in your web browser and downloaded for specified areas.