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Low Poconos

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About the Low Poconos

The Low Poconos are a region of the Poconos, located mostly in northeastern Pennsylvania, extending into New York state.

Relative to the Pocono High Plateau to the west, this region is lower in elevation but more rugged. Although some areas are flatter than others, and glaciers smoothed the terrain somewhat, local relief still reaches up to 800 feet in places. Drainage is often poor, and there are abundant lakes and wetlands, especially on the flatter sites. The area closest to the Delaware river is steepest, and has high-gradient streams with waterfalls, including the highest set of waterfalls in Pennsylvania, Raymondskill Falls, as well as several others, including Dingman's Falls.

The underlying substrates of sandstone, siltstone, claystone, and shale are covered with glacial till. The underlying rock here is more easily erodible than that in the Pocono High Plateau, but the different substrates vary in their erodability leading to this area's more rugged and diverse topography. The glacial till near the surface leads to soils that are rocky, acidic, and poorly-drained, making this area poorly-suited to Western agriculture.

This area was originally covered with Appalachian oak forest, and also had abundant wetlands, including marshes, swamps, and bogs. This area is still mostly forested, although it has experienced significant suburban development in recent years.

This region is bordered to the west by, and partially surrounds the higher-elevation, flatter Pocono High Plateau. It is bordered to the north and northwest by the Delaware-Neversink Highlands. To the southeast it is bordered by a narrow region, the Northern Glaciated Limestone Ridges, Valleys, and Terraces, and along a small portion of the border to the southwest by the Northern Shale Valleys.

This photo, taken near the Bushkill Falls, shows the steeper portion of this region, where waterfalls are common. Photo © Ravi Shah, 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.