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Centre County Natural Resources

This guide provides sources of information on geology, soils, water, minerals and other resources in or near Centre County, Pennsylvania.

UP Campus- The Obelisk (Polylith)

UP Campus- The Concretion

During construction near the Deike building in 2019, an attempt was made to move the concretion however it fell into pieces and was retired.

Debbie Danko standing beside the concretion looking intently at it outside Deike building

From the article-

"Concretions commonly form in unconsolidated sediments because of an abundance of some material, usually calcium carbonate in solution.  Chemical precipitation takes place around a nucleus, often a fossil, and the concretion increases in size by successive additions of material to its surface.  During this process the original sediment is usually displaced by the enlarging concretion, although it can sometimes incorporate up to about 60% of the enclosing sediment in silt or sand."

UP Campus- EMS Museum and Art Gallery

Split and polished geodes in a display case

The EMS Museum is on the ground floor of the Deike building. It contains displays of local geological formations and rotating displays including florescent minerals, fossils, and at one point, shrunken heads (now viewable in the Matson Museum of Anthropology).

Millbrook Marsh

Millbrook Marsh

This 50-acre marsh is located east of State College in Centre County.

I99 at Skytop

I-99/Skytop Acid Rock Drainage Problem

Kepone Superfund Site

Centre County Superfund Site (Kepone)

Bear Meadows

The Bear Meadows Natural Area appears on the following topographic maps:

McAlevy's Fort 7.5-minute
Allensville 15-minute
According to the 1883 Geologic Map of Centre County, this area was called "Bare Meadows."

Other resources:

  • Geology of a portion of the Allensville Quadrangle, Centre and Huntingdon Counties, Pennsylvania. Flueckinger, Linda A. Progress report 176 (Pennsylvania Geological Survey), 1969
  • The nitrogen cycle of Bear Meadows Bog, Rothrock State Forest, Pennsylvania / by Higbee, Robert G.  2000 Penn State bachelors thesis
  • A study of some plant communities of the Bear Meadows Basin, Centre County, Pennsylvania / by Potter, Frank Walter.  1970 Penn State master's thesis
  • "Bear Meadows Bog"  Town and Gown v.1 (August 1966) p.2-4.
  • Late-glacial and post-glacial vegetational history in the north central appalachian region, by Ronald Stingelin. 1965.

Seven Mountains

What are the names of the seven mountains for which the Seven Mountains region is named?

This is a surprisingly difficult question to answer only because the answers differ so much. The Seven Mountains region is fairly well understood but the names of the features in the region have changed a great deal over time. Even today, there is some disagreement about the names of some of the features. Some old sources (ca.1916) describe the Seven Mountains as comprising Path Valley, Short, Bald, Thick Head, Sand, Shade and Tussey Mountain. Another source ca. 1858 simply lists them as First, Second, Third, etc. Many sources state that the seven mountains are those that are adjacent to the road from Potters Mills to Milroy, currently Rt. 322. Depending on which mountains that one counts as being adjacent, you can get up to ten mountains. In another source, the seven mountains were depicted as being the seven heights along First Mountain.

Here are some of the variations about which are the seven mountains:

1900 map: Little, Long, Bald, Treaster, Thick Head, and Tussey
1920 map: First, Treaster/Kohler, Bald, Long, Spruce, Little, Stone
1921 map: First, Treaster/Kohler, Bald, Spruce, Little, Front

If you follow Rt.322, the names of the features that you pass on the west side of the road, traveling north to south are:

First Mountain,
Triester Mountain {Kohler Mtn., on the east side of the road} {in a line with Second Mountain}
Sand Mountain
Bald Mountain
Broad Mountain {Long Mountain to the east}
Spruce Mountain {Front Mountain to the east}
Little Mountain

The Seven Mountains region appears on the following topographic quadrangles:

Centre Hall 15-minute
Lewistown 15-minute
Barrville 7.5-minute
Burnham &.5 minute
Spring Mills 7.5-minute

Other Resources:

  • Geology of part of the Seven Mountains district of Central Pa / by Thamm, John Kenneth. 1956 Penn State Thesis

Shale Hills Watershed

Geographic and other names

  • Allensville 15 min. quadrangle
  • Pine Grove Mills 7.5 min. quadrangle
  • Huntingdon County
  • Jackson Township
  • Shaver's Creek
  • Shaver Creek
  • West Branch Susquehanna River
  • Chesapeake Bay [watershed]



  • Jin, L., R. Ravella, B. Ketchum, P.J. Heaney, S.L. Brantley (2010) Mineral weathering and elemental transport during hillslope evolution: regolith formation on shale at Shale Hills Critical Zone Observatory. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 74, 3669-3691.
  • Lin, H.S., W. Kogelmann, C. Walker and M.A. Bruns (2006) Soil moisture patterns in a forested catchment: A hydropedological perspective. Geoderma, Volume 131, Issues 3-4, April 2006, Pages 345-368.
  • Lin, H. (2006) Temporal stability of soil moisture spatial pattern and subsurface preferential flow pathways in the Shale Hills Catchment. Vadose Zone Journal v.5, no. 1, p. 317-340.
  • Reuter, J.M., Bierman, P.R., Pavich, M.J., Gellis, A.C., Larsen, J and Finkel, R.C. (2004) Erosion of the the Susquehanna River Basin: assessing relations between 10Be-derived erosion rates and basin characteristics (abstract, slides) Geological Society of America, Abstracts with Programs, 37-3.
  • Reuter, Joanna M. Erosion rates and patterns inferred from cosmogenic 10Be in the Susquehanna River Basin M.S. thesis, University of Vermont, 2002-2005.
  • Reuter, J. M. et al.Long-term sediment-generation rates derived from the 10Be in river sediment in the Susquehanna River Basin
  • The State Water Plan: Subbasin 11: Upper Juniata River (1980) Pennsylvania. Division of Comprehensive Resources Programming, The Division. 147 p.
  • Merkel, Edward J., Soil survey of Huntingdon County, Pennsylvania
  • Duffy, C. J. (1996) A two-state integral-balance model for soil moistrue and groundwater dynamics in complex terrain. Water Resources Research v.32, no.8 p.2421-2434 (1996)
  • Flueckinger, L.A. (1967) Geology of the Allensville 15’ Quadrangle, Pennsylvania. Unpub. M.S. Thesis, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pa., 69p.
  • Flueckinger, L.A. (1969) Geology of a Portion of the Allensville Quadrangle, Centre and Huntingdon Counties, Pennsylvania. Pa. Topo. & Geol. Surv., Progress Rept. #176.
  • Jones, Ronald A. (1966) Comparison of streamflow characteristics of the Leading Ridge and Shale Hills experimental watershed units. Masters thesis, The Pennsylvania State University.
  • Leavesley, G. H. (1967) Effect of aspect and slope on soil moisture in relation to streamflow on two shale hills watersheds. Masters thesis, The Pennsylvania State University.
  • Lynch, James Anthony (1976) Effects of antecedent soil moisture on storm hydrographs. PhD Thesis. The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA.
  • Geology of the Stone Valley Recreation Area