Deformation of the Appalachian Plateau

The Appalachian Plateau of northwestern Pennsylvania consists of flat-lying sedimentary rocks that were at the far reaches of Appalachian mountain building events. Nevertheless, the Plateau rocks have recorded some of the tectonic stresses of the orogenic events in the forms of fractures, small-scale folds and faults, and a small percentages of internal strain.

Recent Research Projects

  • Neal Alexandrowicz ’99 completed a senior project that identified deep crustal faults beneath western Pennsylvania, including the fault that was responsible for the 1998 Pymatuning earthquake (magnitude 5.4). Published as Alexandrowicz and Cole (1999)
  • Meredith Long ’03 completed a senior project to determine the types and origins of bedrock fractures in the Meadville area. Her comp served as a pilot for a larger project in which a dozen students collected bedrock fracture data throughout the French Creek Watershed. Published as O’Brien et al (2006).
  • Dave Wolf ’04 completed a senior project that defined the magnitude of shortening between the Alleghenian fold-thrust belt and the Plateau region. He used deformed mudcrack polygons as strain markers at the edge of the fold-thrust belt and placed his results in context with other estimates for layer parallel shortening across the Plateau. Published as Wolf and Cole (2004).