Skip to Main Content

State and Regional Geology: A Guide to Resources (June 2014): Middle Atlantic States

By Linda R. Zellmer

Middle Atlantic States

The Middle Atlantic states include New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, and the District of Columbia.  Unlike New England, there are no unifying publications on the geology of the entire region.

Geology of New York: A Simplified Account, edited by Y.W. Isachsen et al., is an up-to-date description of the state’s geology.  It includes a series of sixty-one block diagrams showing the history of New York throughout geologic time, but it lacks references to additional information on specific topics.  The Geology and Landscapes of New Jersey by Peter Wolfe was one of the first state geology books to interpret the geologic evolution based on plate tectonics.  Geology of New York and New Jersey: Physical Geology Textbook Supplement by J. Bret Bennington and Charles Merguerian is an online publication that updates ideas on the continental collisions that formed these states.  The New Jersey Division of Water Supply and Geoscience contains reports on the geology of each county, called County Geology in Brief, on its website.

People seeking information on Pennsylvania geology need only consult one book.  The Geology of Pennsylvania, edited by Charles Shultz, is a massive, 888-page volume that covers everything from previous geological studies in Pennsylvania to geological tourism.  In between, the volume covers the commonwealth’s stratigraphy, sedimentology, tectonics, geophysics, physiography, geologic history, mineral and water resources, and environmental geology.

Delaware falls in two different geologic provinces, the Piedmont and the Coastal Plain.  Several Delaware Geological Survey publications describing the geology of these regions are available online.  Bedrock Geology of the Piedmont of Delaware and Adjacent Pennsylvania by Margaret Plank, William Schenck, and LeeAnn Srogi is a technical publication describing the rock units of the Delaware and Pennsylvania Piedmont.  Plank and Schenck also wrote an earlier, more generalized account of the area, Delaware Piedmont Geology: Including a Guide to the Rocks of Red Clay Valley.  Johan Groot and Robert Jordan summarized the geology of Delaware’s Coastal Plain in The Pliocene and Quaternary Deposits of Delaware: Palynology, Ages, and Paleoenvironments.  The Delaware Geological Survey also has an online book, The Geology of Delaware, which describes the state’s geology in general terms.

Geography and Geology of Maryland by Harold Vokes and Jonathan Edwards describes the geology, fossils, physiography, and mineral resources in Maryland.  Martin Schmidt’s Maryland’s Geology provides a more current summary of the state’s geologic history.  Studies in Maryland Geology, edited by David Brezinski and James Reger, compiled in honor of the Maryland Geological Survey’s centennial, includes a collection of technical papers on Maryland geology, although it is not a comprehensive description of the state’s geology.

The geology of the Washington, DC, area is described in the U.S. Geological Survey publication Geology of the National Capital Region: Field Trip Guidebook, edited by Scott Southworth and William Burton; this collection of papers is available online.