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Northern Glaciated Shale and Slate Valleys

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About the Northern Glaciated Shale and Slate Valleys

The Northern Glaciated Shale and Slate Valleys represent the more northeasterly, glaciated counterpart to the unglaciated Northern Shale Valleys. This region is small, and begins in a small portion of eastern Pennsylvania, extending through New Jersey into New York state up to the Hudson valley.

This region consists of broad, irregularly-shaped valleys and rolling hills underlain by slate, shale, and sandstone, and covered with glacial drift. There are glacial lakes and wetlands in some areas, owing to the combination of impermeable shale and original drainage patterns disrupted by glaciation.

Natural vegetation cover was mostly mixed oak, sugar maple, and northern hardwood forests. Nowadays, most of this region has been developed for agriculture, primarily small grains, corn, and hay, with some woodlots on more sloped sites. Some forest cover remains, with more along steep slopes and in riparian areas.

This area is not densely populated, containing mostly larger towns. Larger settlements include Middletown NY, Scotchtown, NY, Wantage NJ, and Chester, NY.

This area is bordered to the east by the Hudson Valley and to the northwest by the Northern Glaciated Ridges. To the southwest, at the limit of glaciation this region borders the unglaciated Northern Shale Valleys. The west of this region is bordered to the southeast by the Northern Glaciated Limestone Valleys, which also extend northwest of this region in a narrow strip along a small distance. At the easternmost point, this region is bordered to the south by the Glaciated Reading Prong/Hudson Highlands.

This photo shows Highland Lakes State Park, New York, one of the few less-developed areas within the region. The combination of impermeable shale substrate and history of glaciation has created many lakes throughout the region. Crop of a Photo © Wes Kania, CC BY 2.0, Source.


1. Woods, A.J., Omernik, J.M., Moran, B.C. "Level III and IV Ecoregions of New Jersey", (2007) Web.

2. 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.

3. 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.