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Field conference guide books, road logs, pre-conference guides, and other supplemental content are available to download on this page. Please use our Historic Stops and Guidebooks Web Map or Guidebook Archive.

Historic guidebook availability is temporarily limited. Guidebooks are available for 2000 - 2022. Road logs and other supplemental conference documents will be restored after all guidebooks are available. 

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Use the FCOPG Historic Stops and Guidebooks Web Map below to view past field conference stop locations and download guidebooks. Click here to open the map in a new window.



Dating in the Pleistocene, Establishing a Glacial Chronology in Northwestern Pennsylvania


Gary Fleeger, Frank Pazzaglia, Eric Straffin, Aaron Bierly, Duane Braun, Jocelyn Spencer, Gary D'Urso, Todd Grote, Brian Zimmerman, Katie Tamulonis, Michael Simoneau
Conference description unavailable.


Geology of Ohiopyle State Park and the Laurel Highlands of Southwestern Pennsylvnaia


Jim Shaulis, Frank Pazzaglia, Steve Lindberg
Conference description unavailable.


The Case of the Missing Catskill, Clues from Wayne, Sullivan and Susquehanna Counties


Bill Kochanov, Brett McLaurin
Conference description unavailable.


Temporal, Tectonic, Climatic and Environmental Context of the Triassic-Jurassic rift system of eastern North America: Emerging Concepts from the Newark Rift Basin


Paul E. Olsen, Martha Withjack, Roy W. Schlische, Frank Pazzaglia
Conference description unavailable.


Recent Geologic Studies and Initiatives in Central Pennsylvania


David “Duff” Gold, Charlie Miller, Arnold Doden, Hubert Barnes, Richard Perizek, William White, David Yoxtheimer, Roman DiBiase, Ryan Mathur, Terry Engelder, Randy Farmerie, Michael Smith, Barry Scheetz
Day 1 (Friday morning) for a brief orientation on the geology (emphasizing the stratigraphy, structure and geomorphology) of Nittany Valley, from the Jo Hays look-out on Tussey Mountain. Thereafter Group 1 will proceed on the Shale Hills Critical Zone Observatory for the rest of the morning and relocate at the Pavilion for lunch at nearby Lake Perez. Group 2 will drive onto Huntingdon to examine outcrops of the Marcellus Shale, plumose joints in the Brallier Sandstone, and thin-skinned deformation in the shoaling upwards tidalite cycles of the Wills Creek Formation. Then Saturday groups will be segregated into disciplinary preferences themes of (a) Environmental/hydrogeology or (b) stratigraphy/engineering geology.


Energy and Environments: Geology in the “Nether World” of Indiana County, Pennsylvania


Joan Hawk, William A. Bragonier
The first geological survey of Pennsylvania passed to the right and left of Indiana County leaving it a veritable “nether world” of geology. Since then, the “nether world” has been fleshed out and the 81st Annual Field Conference of Pennsylvania Geologists will highlight Indiana County and adjacent areas, rich in both energy and non-fuel minerals for over 100 years. We will look at past and present environments–warts and all. Stops and preconference trips currently being contemplated include: Johnstown 1889 flood site, Miss-Penn unconformity west of Johnstown, flint clay locales, Blacklick Gorge Geology along the Ghost Town Trail, Loyalhanna Limestone outcrops, a caving trip, local whitewater rafting and an AMD treatment site.


Conglomerate, Coal, And Calamites: Geology, Mining History, And Paleontology Of “The Region”: Schuylkill, Northumberland, And Columbia Counties, Pennsylvania


See Guidebook
Conference description unavailable.


Pennsylvania’s Great Valley & Bordering Mountains near Carlisle


Don Hoskins and Noel Potter
Ten sites present surficial, bedrock and economic geology, structure and geomorphology of South Mountain, the Great Valley and Blue Mountain, principally in Cumberland County. Of the ten, revisited with new interpretations are four classic sites visited by the Conference (one in 1982 and three in 1991). Five viewed quarries produce sandstone, limestone, shale and colluvium/alluvium. Presented are their diverse economic importance as well as their geologic aspects and interpreted history. Featured at one site are dye tracing of long distance ground water travel to a large springs. Paleontology is a sub-focus at two sites. Viewed respectively at two sites is autochthonous and allocthonous Ordovician Martinsburg sediments and markedly diverse structure. Friday evening banquet topic is the history of 19th century iron mining. Recent geomorphic investigations using LIDAR imagery provide new interpretations that allow reconstruction of Cenozoic paleotopography. Cretaceous lignite recovered in a core will be available for examination.


A Tale Of Two Provinces: The Nippenose Valley And Route 15 Corridor


Bill Kochanov and Brett McLaurin
The tale of two provinces examines the Great Amphitheater of Pennsylvania, the Nippenose Valley of Lycoming and Clinton Counties, inside and out on day one. The floor of this breached anticline exposes the Middle to Upper Ordovician, Bellefonte through Reedsville Formations. Just outside of the amphitheater are great exposures of the Marcellus, Tully, and Mifflintown. The second day is along US Route 15 corridor. There we examine excellent exposures of the stratigraphic succession from the Devonian Brallier/Harrell/Lock Haven into the Pennsylvanian Bloss coal complex of Pottsville/ Allegheny age, only to return back to the Lock Haven. It’s a wild roller coaster ride from Williamsport to the New York border as you cross six “time zones” trying to figure out if it is half past the Devonian or a quarter after the Mississippian.


Journey Along The Taconic Unconformity, Northeastern Pennsylvania, New Jersey, And Southeastern New York


Jack Epstein, Don Montevere, Christopher Oest, Ron Witte, Greg Herman
The Field Conference of Pennsylvania Geologists has in the past visited many sites along the Ordovician-Silurian boundary. The “transitional” contact between Silurian and Ordovician rocks in central Pennsylvania becomes unconformable in eastern Pennsylvania to southeastern New York as the hiatus widens. Following the northeastward decrease in intensity of deformation in the Ridge and Valley through New Jersey, this trip will begin with the high-angle contact between the Tuscarora and Hamburg sequence at the Schuylkill River and proceed for 120 miles along the very low-angle unconformable contact between Lehigh Gap, PA and Ellenville, NY. We will suggest predominant Alleghanian deformation along the contact and, in New Jersey and New York, propose zones of increasing southeastward Taconic deformation away from the contact. We will demonstrate the relative intensities and trends of Taconic and Alleghanian deformation in New York, and will comment on the northeastward dying-out of Alleghanian structures in the Shawangunk Mountains. The perplexing story of events during the Taconic hiatus, lasting perhaps 10-20 million years, will be illuminated by an unusual diamictite in southeastern New York.


Geology Of The Pennsylvanian-Permian In The Dunkard Basin


Bascombe Blake, Jr., C. Blaine Cecil, Helen L. Delano, William A. DiMichele, Nick Fedorko, Richard E. Gray, W.D. Sevon, Viktoras W. Skema
The 2011 Field Conference of Pennsylvania Geologists focused on the Permian- Carboniferous age rocks of the Dunkard Basin in Southwestern Pennsylvania, the northern panhandle of West Virginia, and Eastern Ohio. We looked at the youngest Paleozoic strata of the Appalachians exposed along winding roads built on the steep valley walls of this remote region. We closely examined the various lithologic features and fossils, touched on dramatic north to south facies change in the basin, and considered the paleoenvironmental and paleoclimatic implications of all of this. We once again asked the question about the age of Dunkard strata – Pennsylvanian or Permian? Attention was also be given to the unique topographic features of the region – the narrow, sinuous ridge tops and deep valleys shaped by strong headward erosion of streams and extensive landslides.


Tectonics Of The Susquehanna Piedmont In Lancaster, Dauphin, And York Counties


John Barnes, Gale Blackmer, Hal Bosbyshell, Rodger Faill, Bob Ganis, Alec Gates, Jay Parrish, Frank Pazzaglia, Bob Smith, Scott Southworth, John Taylor, Roger Thomas, Dave Valentino, Don Wise
The first day’s trip will be devoted to the early Paleozoic platform and slope deposits near the Susquehanna River. Stratigraphic units will include the Precambrian Accomac (Catoctin) Volcanics, Cambrian Hellam Conglomerate and Chickies Quartzite, the Cambrian transition from platform carbonates of the Ledger Dolomite into the Conestoga slope limestones and olistostromes, the Octoraro (Antietam ?) Schist, and some Beekmantown carbonates. Taconic and Alleghanian-age structures will illustrate several types of cleavage, the infamous Martic thrust zone, enigmatic folds and nappe emplacement mechanics, pirated cleavages at Chickies rock, and boudin mechanics and thick carbonate mylonitic zones produced by the exposed Alleghanian-age Chickies-Oregon Thrust in the Prospect Quarry. That evening the traditional banquet lecture will be given by Damian Nance on “The Rheic Ocean in relation to the Appalachian Orogenic belt.” The second day’s trip will focus on the Taconic foreland basin mostly in Dauphin and Lebanon Counties. Recent work by Ganis, Repetski and others has produced about 50 sites with high quality graptolite and/or condont dates. With these constraints, new mapping by Ganis and Blackmer has begun to make sense out of the Martinsburg flysch and its allochthons. These are now named as a separate formation, the sub-Martinsburg Dauphin Formation that has been thrust emplaced onto the carbonate platform and folded along with those carbonates and the overlying flysch into the Lebanon Valley nappe complex. These map relationships are at complete odds to traditional views of the Hamburg klippe as an erosionally isolated part of a late stage thrust sheet and suggest the “Hamburg klippe” term should be abandoned. The stops will demonstrate the stages of evolution of the Cocalico-Dauphin-Martinsburg foreland basin from the Myerstown Formation first disturbances of the platform carbonates, through emplacement from some distant deep sea source of the deep water Dauphin allochthons, to deposition of the overlying Martinsburg flysch and ultimately to gross overturning of it all as part of the Lebanon Valley nappe complex.


History And Geology Of The Oil Regions Of Northwestern Pennsylvania


John A. Harper, Gordon C. Baird, Gary M Fleeger, Jeffry J. Gryta, Augie Holtz, Jocelyn Lewis-Miller, Scott C. McKenzie, Jerry Knickerbocker D, Jeffery Over, Shirley Pulawski, Amy Randolph, Joseph S. Sullivan
The 74th Annual Field Conference of Pennsylvania Geologists returned to northwestern Pennsylvania to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the founding of the modern petroleum industry by the successful completion of the Drake Well in Titusville on August 27, 1859. The first day of the field trip began by looking at an excellent outcrop of the uppermost Devonian Berea Sandstone and adjacent rocks in Oil City. From there we headed north along Oil Creek to relive the history of the early oil days. Stops included: the McClintock #1 well, the world’s oldest producing oil well; Petroleum Centre, the heart of the industry during the early days; an early attempt to mine to the oil reservoirs; Blood Farm, with much of its old oilfield equipment still extant; Pithole, the famous ghost town that provides a sobering look at the rise and fall of an area in the throes of “black gold fever;” and Drake Well Museum where it all started. At the Drake Well, conferees also had the opportunity to examine an outcrop of the Upper Devonian “Drake Well Formation” (informal name) and search for fossils. The morning of day two was spent at a very complete esker-delta-lacustrine plain complex in northern Butler County. The new lidar images clearly show the complex. The story includes a couple of drainage diversions caused by the delta resulting in a stream that flows across and up its valley. In addition to the geomorphic relationships of the complex, we also had an opportunity to visit an active sand and gravel pit in the delta, and see the type of sedimentation that occurs in that environment. The afternoon of the second day of the Field Conference was devoted to reexamining the long-studied and long-debated end-Devonian stratigraphic succession in northwest Pennsylvania. Advances in global geochronology, recognition of the importance of the Hangenberg mass-extinction event, plus recent discoveries of apparent end-Devonian glacial activity have raised the stakes for improving our knowledge of the stratigraphy and paleontology in this regional time-slice. The results of extensive fieldwork in Crawford County and surrounding areas, as well as a partial review of the extensive and complex history of stratigraphic investigations of area sections will be presented.


Geology Of The Gettysburg Mesozoic Basin And Military Geology Of The Gettysburg Campaign


Rodger T Faill, Jon D Inners, Roger J Cuffey, William E Kochanov, G Patrick Bowling, Robert C Smith, II, Gary M Fleeger
The 73rd Annual Field Conference of Pennsylvania offered a duel focus: the geology of the Mesozoic Gettysburg basin and the military geology of the battle of Gettysburg. In the history of the Field Conference only one STOP has examined Mesozoic rocks. An entire day was devoted to a geological transect across the Gettysburg basin. The Gettysburg basin is an erosional remnant of the early Mesozoic Birdsboro basin, formed on the roots of the Permian Alleghanian orogeny in the middle of Pangea near the edge of what was to become the Atlantic Ocean in the middle Jurassic. Approximately 7,000 m of mostly terrigenous sediment accumulated in an elongate trough (the Birdsboro basin) during the late Triassic and earliest Jurassic. We visited deposits of the various depositional environments, including the basal fanglomerate, the fluvial playa, the lacustrine and shoreline, and the upper fanglomerates. We also entered a quarry that exposes cycles in the Ordovician Beekmantown, and considered the tectonic implications for its presence within the Gettysburg basin. The second day of the Field Conference was spent entirely within the Gettysburg National Military Park. No famous land battle in all the annals of military history exemplifies the influence of topography and geology on the course and outcome of the engagement more than the battle of Gettysburg. From the Blue Ridge-South Mountain barrier that shielded the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia from the Union Army of the Potomac both during the movement to and retreat from Gettysburg to the spoke-like road network that led both armies to the fatal field to the rocky diabase fishhook upon which the Union forces anchored their final defensive position, the landscape dominated every phase of the Gettysburg campaign. We visited several of the well-known sites at Gettysburg National Military Park, including the railroad cuts west of town, the Lee Memorial on Seminary Ridge, Little Round Top, Devil’s Den, the Peach Orchard, and the High Water Mark on Cemetery Ridge-emphasizing at each STOP how topographic and geologic conditions affected military tactics and results.


1st- to 5th-Order Appalachian Mountain Folds; Folded Thrusts; Ordovician & Silurian Carbonates; Silurian Quartzites & Sandstones


Thomas McElroy, Donald Hoskins, Nathanael Barta, Paul Fagley, Steve Shawver
The 72nd Annual Field Conference of Pennsylvania took place in the scenic and geologically fascinating area near Lewistown, located in the heart of Pennsylvania’s picturesque Ridge and Valley province. The trip emphasized the products of recent geological mapping in the area surrounding the beautiful Kishacoquillas Valley – a locus of Amish and Mennonite farming. Geologic emphasis was on the reinterpreted structural geology of the area, which highlights pre-Alleghenian thrust faults that demonstrably were later refolded during the development of the Appalachian Mountains. Ordovician, Silurian and Devonian stratigraphy of the area was also highlighted with its local variations. The first day included examining the spectacular newly created road cut at the east end of the Lewistown Narrows where the Tuscarora and Rose Hill Formations may be seen in two very different structural settings. The remainder of the day included stops in no less than three quarries, each with structural complexities, including one in semi-consolidated Ridgeley sandstone with fossils. Day one lunch was atop Jacks Mountain featuring panoramic views of both adjacent valleys and ridge top quartzite stratigraphy. The first three stops of the second day examined the structural relationships of the pre-Alleghenian thrusting in the Kishacoquillas Valley starting with a stop at Reedsville to view “Trenton-Black River” stratigraphy and thrust fault structure. Overturned Bald Eagle conglomerate was seen at a stop demonstrating additional structures in the footwall of a refolded thrust fault. Then to road outcrops in the Ridgeley sandstone with a cross-bedded crag and a giant sinkhole in the Tonoloway Formation. Two pre-Conference Trips included a trip to an enigmatic boulder field of Ridgely sandstone that has no apparent source, and an underground excursion through the Rupert Cave in the Old Port Formation.


The Haystacks, "Ricketts Folly," and the End of the World: Geology of the Glaciated Allegheny High Plateau, Sullivan, Luzerne, and Columbia Counties, PA


Duane D. Braun, Jon D. Inners, Gary M. Fleeger, Angela C. Dippold, Jennifer M. Elick, Norman M. Gillmeister, Joseph C. Hill, Donald L. Woodrow
The 71st Annual Field Conference of Pennsylvania took place amid some of the grandest scenery in the northeastern United States, counting among its attractions two of Pennsylvania’s most picturesque and geologically interesting state parks—Ricketts Glen and Worlds End. Ricketts Glen boasts 22 named waterfalls among its many attractions, and Worlds End has two spectacular scenic overlooks and (as far as we know) the biggest Pottsville “rock city” on the High Plateau. Emphasis was on the geomorphological development and glacial history of the region that encompasses North Mountain, Eagles Mere, and the uplands bordering Loyalsock Creek, but STOPS dealing with the stratigraphy and paleontology of the Lock Haven, Catskill, and Huntley Mountain Formations were also be included. Of particular stratigraphic and sedimentologic interest was a pre-Conference field trip to the enigmatic “Haystacks” in the upper part of the Huntley Mountain Formation on Loyalsock Creek. A second pre-conference field trip involved an all-day hike through the Glens and along the Highland Trail at Ricketts Glen State Park. A late addition to the “road log” will be discussions of the damage inflicted by the “no-name” flood of late June 2006.


Type Sections And Stereotype Sections: Glacial And Bedrock Geology In Beaver, Lawrence, Mercer, And Crawford Counties, Pennsylvania


Thomas Anderson, Linda Armstrong, William A. Bragonier, Gary M. Fleeger, William E. Kochanov, Viktoras W. Skema
The 2005 Field Conference visited glacial and bedrock sections in the Shenango and Beaver River valleys in northwestern Pennsylvania. The glacial sections included a complex section of glaciolacustrine sediments with a plethora of sedimentary structures at Cochranton. A lake bluff section on Pymatuning Reservoir at Pymatuning State Park addressed problems of glacial stratigraphy, history, sedimentology, and geomorphology. The Booth Run section exposed all 5 of White and others’ (1969) Titusville Till sheets, separated by sand and gravel beds, and displayed some complicated weathering patterns. The bedrock sections include two type sections (Mercer and Homewood) described by I.C. White in the late 1800s. These were compared to modern exposures of the lower Allegheny – upper Pottsville interval, and illustrated why some of the type sections are “stereotype” sections. Also included were a stop at the Vanport Limestone, and an unusual asymmetric fold with multiple thrust faults at New Castle.


Marginalia: Magmatic Arcs and Continental Margins In Delaware and Southeastern Pennsylvania


Gale Blackmer, LeeAnn Srogi, William Schenck, Margaret Plank, Howell Bosbyshell, Gill Wiswall
For the first time in Field Conference history, we traveled to Delaware to examine the Wissahickon and the Wilmington Complex. A highlight of the Delaware excursion on Day 1 was a ride on the section of the historic Wilmington and Western Railroad that has been repaired since 2003’s pre-hurricane storm rained destruction on the Delaware Valley. We then got a taste of our neighbors’ hospitality with lunch at stop leader Peg Plank’s house where we will also visit her quarry in the “Mt. Cuba” Wissahickon. We headed back through horse country in Chester County, PA to visit a quarry in the Cockeysville Marble and a typical Piedmont roadside outcrop of “Doe Run” Wissahickon. On Day 2, we visited Delaware County, PA to further explore the relationship of the Wissahickon to the Wilmington Complex arc and (finally!) see some “type” Wissahickon. We also looked at the Wissahickon in contact with Grenvillian gneiss of the Avondale Massif. At least we thought it was Grenvillian until zircons from the contact zone in this railroad cut gave a Silurian age.


Geology on the Edge: Selected Geology of Bedford, Blair, Cambria, and Somerset Counties


Bob Altamura, Edwin Anderson, Bill Bragonier, Arnold Doden, Gary Fleeger, Duff Gold, Peggy Goodman, Peter Goodwin, Frank Hall, John Harper, Jon Inners, Steve Lindberg, Todd Lowry, Cheryl Sinclair, Vik Skema, Bob Smith, John Taylor, Keith Van Horn, John Way
For the first time in its history, the 2003 Annual Field Conference of Pennsylvania Geologists visited the Altoona area in west-central PA. Here, the Ridge and Valley Physiographic Province meets the Appalachian Plateaus Province along the Allegheny Front. Stops on Day 1 focused on the Silurian-Devonian carbonates in the lowlands of the Ridge and Valley. We examined excellent exposures of these units and addressed their stratigraphy, sedimentology, and paleontology, as well as their economic potential. In contrast, stops throughout Day 2 addressed the challenges of the geology and the landscape to the region’s history, and blended the past and the present across the Allegheny Front. Highlights included: Fort Roberdeau, a reconstructed American Revolutionary stockade; a train excursion up the Front around the Horseshoe Curve and through Gallitzin’s Tunnel Hill (re-enacting the first Field Conference in 1931); the Allegheny Portage Railroad National Historic Site; and an active strip-mine operation.


From Tunkhannock to Starrucca: Bluestone, Glacial Lakes, and Great Bridges in the "Endless Mountains" of Northeastern PA


Debra Adleman, Duane D. Braun, Brett Grover, Jonathan Harrington, Richard H. Howe, Jon D. Inners, William E. Kochanov, Jim T. Kovach, William MacDonald, Thomas A. McElroy, Michael G. Slenker, Donald L. Woodrow, William S. Young
The conference dealt mainly with the bedrock and glacial geology of Susquehanna County. Highlights of the field trip were stops at several active “bluestone,” crushed-stone, and sand-and-gravel quarries, as well as visits to two of Pennsylvania’s most impressive and historic railroad bridges, the great Starrucca (1848) and Tunkhannock (1915) Viaducts. Tying all these various aspects of the trip together is the “Summit sluiceway,” a remarkable valley that cuts across the east-west stream divide in the central part of Susquehanna County. Formed by overflow from the various generations (pre-Illinoian to late Wisconsinan) of Glacial Lake Great Bend, the sluiceway was utilized by the Delaware, Lackawanna & Western Railroad as its major northward route from Scranton to the Great Lakes—culminating early in the 20th century with the completion of the “Summit cut-off” and the Tunkhannock Viaduct.


2001: A Delaware River Odyssey


Jack B. Epstein, Jeanine Ferrence, Jon D. Inners, Mitzi Kaiura, Donald H. Monteverde, Charles A. Ver Straeten, John Wright, Ron W. Witte
Much of the conference took place in the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area (DEWA) (New Jersey and Pennsylvania). Emphases was on stratigraphy, structural geology, glacial geology, geomorphology, paleontology, and geoarcheology—but guidebook articles, field-trip stops, and pre-conference trips also dealt with mineral resources, historical geography, and ecology, among other topics. Day 1 of the conference field trip was mostly in New Jersey and highlighted stops at Delaware Water Gap, the Yards Creek Pump Storage Project, and High Point State Park. Day 2 was entirely in Pennsylvania and featured stops in the Schoharie Formation/Onondaga Limestone, an ice-contact delta, and a Mahantango shale-chip rubble deposit. The trip concluded with a grand synthesis of stratigraphy, glacial history, geomorphology, and geoarcheology at Raymondskill Creek and Falls.


Pittsburgh at the Millennium: The Impact of Geoscience on a Changing Metropolitan Area


Reginald P. Briggs, Bruce M. Camlin, Brian H. Greene, James V. Hamel, John A. Harper, John W. Kovacs, Henry S. Prellwitz, Christopher A. Ruppen, Charles H. Shultz, Joseph C. Smith
Day one included a brief overview of the Pittsburgh area from atop Mt. Washington for orientation. After a stop to examine the impact of an old coal mine on the construction of the Mon-Fayette expressway, we boarded the US Army Corps of Engineers’ “pleasure barge” for an excursion down the Monongahela and Ohio Rivers from Braddock to Emsworth. Field slowdowns along the way gave conferees the opportunity to view the making of a new dam, the redevelopment of old brownfields, and a variety of geotechnical problems associated with attempting to build and maintain roads on Pittsburgh’s steep hillsides. Day two featured a visit to the Bruce Mansfield Power Plant in Beaver County where conferees had the opportunity to view the process of recycling scrubber sludge to make wallboard. We traveled to northern Allegheny County to examine what purportedly is the oldest documented major landslide in the world (Pennsylvanian age), and the structurally most complex area in Allegheny County. We also visited Fall Run Park, a small slice of native western Pennsylvania which has been severely impacted by surrounding sprawl.
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