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Glaciated Low Allegheny Plateau

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About the Glaciated Low Allegheny Plateau

The Glaciated Low Allegheny Plateau, sometimes referred to just as the Glaciated Low Plateau, is a relatively-flat region extending through much of southern upstate New York, and well into Pennsylvania.

This region has been smoothed by glaciation, and consists mostly of low, rolling hills, open, wide valleys, some glacial lakes, and relatively abundant bogs and marshes. Peak elevations range from 1,300-1,800 ft (395-550m) which is lower than most of the surrounding regions. Soils are leached of minerals, rocky, and often poorly-drained. The region has a humid continental climate, but milder than many of the surrounding regions. The growing season ranges from 100-160 days, reflecting the large geographic span of this region. Elevation is lowest and climate warmest where the Susquehanna river cuts through this region.

Original forest cover was mostly Appalachian oak forest, especially in regions closest to the Susquehanna river, with some northern hardwood forest at the highest elevations.

Currently this region has significant farmland, more than most of the surrounding regions. This area is more suitable for dairy farming and livestock production than production of most crops. There are many dairy farms, and some production of hay, corn silage, and oats. Agriculture here though is on the decline, although not as quickly as in nearby regions, and some land is reverting to forest. Most of this area is sparsely populated, but in New York state the two small cities of Binghamton and Elmira are located here.

This landscape showing farming on lower, flatter areas contrasting with forested hills is typical of what the glaciated low Allegheny plateau looks like nowadays. Photo © Nicholas A. Tonelli, CC BY 2.0.

References

1. Bryce, S.A., Griffith, G.E., Omernik, J.M., Edinger, G., Indrick, S., Vargas, O., and Carlson, D. "Ecoregions of New York (Poster)", U.S. Geological Survey (2010) Web.

2. Woods, A.J, Omernik, J.M., Brown, D.D. "Level III and IV Ecoregions of Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia", U.S. Environmental Protection Agency: National Health and Environmental Effects Research Laboratory, Corvallis, OR (1999) Web.