Pennsylvania's Physiography

The heavier brown lines, representing Pennsylvania's "physiographic provinces" (see the definition below), and the lighter brown lines representing subdivisions of those provinces, known as "sections," are shown with Pennsylvania's counties. Click on any point in Pennsylvania to see its physiographic section outlined and its province and section identified.


Data Explanations

The physiography of an area is the appearance and characteristics of its physical landscape. The Physiographic Provinces of Pennsylvania are the six mostly larger areas with consistent general characteristics. The Provinces can be subdivided again at a larger (more zoomed-in) scale, to distinguish more subtle variations, known as Physiographic Sections. The Provinces are characterized in the table below using one measurement: elevation.

Provinces Lowest Elevation Location of the Lowest Elevation Highest Elevation Location of the Highest Elevation
Central Lowland 571 feet Lake Erie shoreline, in Erie County approx. 1,450 feet Near New York border, east of North East, in Erie County
Appalachian Plateaus 665 feet Ohio River shoreline at the Ohio border, in Beaver County 3,213 feet Mount Davis, in Somerset County
Ridge and Valley 146 feet Delaware River shoreline just south of Easton, in Northampton County 2,757 feet Northeast of Hydnman, in Bedford County
New England 119 feet Delaware River shoreline just south of Riegelsville, in Bucks County 1,235 feet Topton Mountain, south of Topton, in Berks County
Piedmont 8 feet Delaware River shoreline between Yardley and Morrisville, in Bucks County 1,415 feet Stone Head, just west of Dillsburg, in York County
Atlantic Coastal Plain 0 feet Delaware River shoreline, in Delaware, Philadelphia and southern Bucks Counties 200 feet Broad St. and Olney Ave., in Philadelphia