From Wikipedia, "The lithosphere is the rigid outermost shell of a rocky planet"

Signs of recovery on a once-defoliated mountainside in Palmerton, Carbon County, near the site of the New Jersey Zinc operation.  For more information, visit the EPA's Palmerton Zinc website.

Rehabilitating Mountainside in Palmerton

An karst feature in Nippenose Valley, called a karst window.

"A karst window is a special type of sinkhole that gives us a view, or window, into the karst aquifer. A karst window has a spring on one end, a surface-flowing stream across its bottom, and a swallow hole at the other end. The stream is typically at the top of the water table. Karst windows develop by both dissolution and collapse of the bedrock. Many karst windows originated as collapse sinkholes." (from James C. Currens, Kentucky Geological Survey)

A Karst Window in Nippenose Valley

This photo was taken in Cumberland Cemetery in Lima, PA.  This tombstone serves as an excellent example of a source for interdisciplinary studies for students.  Students studying Earth science can examine the rock type of the tombstone.  Biology/Life Science students can look at the dates of birth and death to examine human lifespan and longevity.  History students can look at the symbols and their meaning - in this case, the ship and date 1620 means that one of the people buried at this site is a descendent from someone that came over on the Mayflower.  Search the PAESTA Classroom for an exercise relating to a tombstone investigation with students.


A Tombstone for Interdisciplinary Study

If you viewed the 3-part PBS series on Your Inner Fish, then you have already been introduced to the tetrapod that captures the transition of life moving from water on to land.  This fossil specimen, classified as the Tiktaalik roseae, is temporarily housed at the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University in Philadelphia, PA.  To learn more about the Tiktaalik roseae, visit our online collection of resources relating to the book and mini-series. 

Tiktaalik roseae, from Your Inner Fish

Constructed in 1896, the obelisk, also called the polylith, stands 32.7 feet high and weighs 53.4 tons. This "pile of rocks" was created the same year the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences (formerly the School of Mines) at The Pennsylvania State University in State College, PA, came into existence.  A plaque on the monument reads as follows: "Containing 281 stones arranged in natural geologic order, this monument was erected in 1896 under supervision of Professors T.C. Hopkins and M.C. Ihlseng, School of Mines, The Pennsylvania State College, to demonstrate weathering properties and subsequent value of Pennsylvania building stone."

The Penn State Obelisk

This image was taken at the Barree Road outcrop in Alexandria, PA. It is an open inclined fold and the shale layers act as a slip plane for the sandstone layers.

Barree Road outcrop

Pine Creek Gorge, sometimes called The Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania, is a 47-mile (76 km) gorge carved by Pine Creek in Pennsylvania. It sits in about 160,000 acres (650 km2) of the Tioga State Forest and is ~1,280 ft (427 m) from the rim to its deepest point. The brown pathway to the right and parallel to Pine Creek is a Rail Trail. TrailLink information on the Pine Creek Rail Trail.

For additional information, read this excellent article in Geotimes titled Pine Creek Gorge: The other Grand Canyon. The article contains a description of how the glacial history of the region changed the direction of flow in Pine Creek.

Pine Creek Gorge, The Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania

Ground penetrating radar (GPR) was utilized for an investigation at Cumberland Cemetery in Lima, PA, to identify the grave sites of unmarked burials in this historic cemetery.  For a summary of the study results, please see Eileen Fresta's undergraduate honors thesis on A Study of the Cumberland Cemetery in Middletown Township, Pennsylvania.  This video by GSSI gives a good overview of GPR and its applications.

Ground Penetrating Radar at Cumberland Cemetery

Rattlesnake Rock is a recreational stop along the Pine Creek Rail Trail. This spot has an excellent view of some fluvial features, such as these sand bars that have accumulated in Pine Creek.

Sand Bars Viewed from Rattlesnake Rock

The Centre Furnace site includes the Centre Furnace Mansion, furnace stack (pictured here), and surrounding eight acres. This National Register site represents the 18th century beginnings of the charcoal iron industry in this area and a small portion of the late 18th-century ironmaking village once located here.

Centre Furnace Stack