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Northern Glaciated Limestone Ridges, Valleys, and Terraces

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About the Northern Glaciated Limestone Ridges, Valleys, and Terraces

The Northern Glaciated Limestone Ridges, Valleys, and Terraces is a small region extending northeast-southwest along the banks of the Delaware river, extending farther on the northwestern side of the river. It includes a portion in the easternmost portion of Pennsylvania, a long, narrow sliver in the northwesternmost part of New Jersey, and a narrow stretch in New York state. The region is widest at its western end, and narrowest in the middle.

This region has diverse topography, including glaciated valleys, folded and faulted ridges, and fluvial terraces originating as floodplains from once-higher rivers. Underlying rocks are variable, including limestone, shale, and sandstone with the addition of glacial drift and till, and some loess and alluvium. Limestone areas have karst topography. The depth of glacial drift is highly variable across this region. Much of the region has fertile soils well-suited for agriculture.

Original vegetation may have been Appalachian oak forest with some oak-northern hardwood forest.

Significant parts of this region are preserved as part of the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area and the Walpack Fish and Wildlife Management Area. Outside of this protected land, the area is fairly developed for agriculture and residential development, in part because the bordering regions to the northwest and southeast between which this area is sandwiched are both so poorly-suited to agriculture and building. Stroudsburg and East Stroudsburg, PA are major settlements here. There is still some forest cover in these developed regions.

Along its entire length, this region is bordered to the southeast by the Northern Glaciated Ridges. To the northwest, this area borders the Low Poconos over the western portion, and at the northeasternmost portion, it borders the Catskills Transition to the northwest. At the southwestern end, this region borders the Northern Shale Valleys, and at the far northeast end, it borders the Hudson Valley to the east.

This photo shows the Walpack Valley in Sussex County, New Jersey, one of the lesser-developed parts of this region. Photo © Nicholas A. Tonelli, CC BY 2.0.


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.