About the Survey

Hickory Run Boulder Field

What's New

This section features new information and publications on the bureau's website.



Our mission — “To serve the citizens of Pennsylvania by collecting, preserving, and disseminating impartial information on the Commonwealth's geology, geologic resources, and topography in order to contribute to the understanding, wise use, and conservation of its land and included resources.”

The Pennsylvania Geological Survey has been examining Pennsylvania’s geology since 1836, and always with an eye toward meeting the ever-changing needs of the times. Pennsylvania has evolved from a state primarily focused on coal and petroleum resources to one where these still-important commodities compete for attention with other concerns, including finding adequate supplies of water, locating resources for construction and pollution remediation, dealing with geologic hazards such as landslides and sinkholes, and even supporting tourism, which has become an important statewide industry. Providing information that planners can use in making wise decisions on future land use has become an important activity in the 21st century. Our fact sheet "Local Government Services" summarizes the services we can provide to communities and citizens of our state.

The Survey’s present organization dates to 1919, when it was authorized by the General Assembly “to undertake, conduct, and maintain the organization of a thorough and extended survey of the State, for the purpose of elucidating the geology and topography of the State.” It was also given the responsibility to “put the results of the survey, with the results of previous surveys, into form convenient for reference.” Toward that end, the Survey has published hundreds of books, maps, magazines, and pamphlets. New publications continue to be developed every year. More recently, embracing the internet and digital technologies provides yet another medium through which we can put our results "into a form convenient for reference."

Office Hours
Acquiring Topographic Maps
Library Hours
Water Well Abandonment
Geologic Maps (including Map 61)

Q.    What are your office hours?
Main Office:    8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Eastern Time  
Pittsburgh Office:   8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Eastern Time

Q.    How can I get a topographic map quickly?  Are there toll-free phone numbers for ordering topographic maps?
   Order maps from the following dealers.

The United States Geological Survey (USGS) sells topographic and other maps at their USGS Store web site. "Enter" the USGS store and choose the map locator icon to locate quadrangles or other USGS products.

Other Dealers:

GeoMart:    1–800–248–6277     24-hrs-a-day
Greenville, North Carolina http://www.geomart.com/

Map Express:    1–800–MAP–0039   1–800–627–0039    24-hrs-a-day
Lakewood, Colorado  www.mapexp.com

Q.    What are the hours for the library?
  Located at the main headquarters of the Survey (3240 Schoolhouse Road, Middletown, PA 17057), the library is open to the public during regular working hours (9 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.). Online reservations for reviewing aerial photographs can be made.

Q.    Do I need a Pennsylvania licensed water-well driller to perform a water well abandonment?
   No.  For more information on water wells, see our water well drilling and abandonment web page.

Q.    Where can I get geologic maps, like Map 61?
   Almost all bureau publications, including geologic maps, have been scanned and are available from PaGEODE, our web-mapping application. Use PaGEODE to search for a publication of interest by area, series, or report number. The search results window will indicate title(s) and choosing one will take you to a landing page that includes a short description of the report and a link to download the publication. Additional information about obtaining publications can be found on our website.

Q.    Where can I get more information about groundwater?
   The Survey has published an excellent pamphlet on groundwater: The Geology of Pennsylvania's Groundwater (ES-3). Copies may be obtained from the Middletown office or from the web site. The Water Resources Division, Pennsylvania District, of the United States Geological Survey (USGS) maintains a web site that includes current as well as historical water data for Pennsylvania.

Also, see our groundwater web page for addtional information on groundwater, and our FAQs on water wells.

Q.    Where can I get more information about sinkholes?
   The Pennsylvania State Geological Survey has published an excellent informational pamphlet on sinkholes: Sinkholes in Pennsylvania (ES-11 ). You can either obtain a copy of ES-11 by requesting one from the Survey or print a copy from our web site. The appendix of ES-11 lists additional sources of information.

Also, see our geologic hazards web page for additional information on sinkholes and other natural hazards.