Guidelines for Authors


Pennsylvania Geology is a journal intended for a wide audience, primarily within Pennsylvania, but including many out-of-state readers interested in Pennsylvania’s geology, topography, and associated earth science topics. These readers may include members of the Pennsylvania Legislature, state and local government agencies, academicians, primary and secondary school teachers, consulting and industry geologists, and students and adults who are interested in geology and earth science. You should keep these audiences in mind when preparing articles.

General Content

A typical issue consists of one or two multipage feature articles, reviews of new publications, an article pertaining to earth science education, and various announcements. All articles are about, or relate to, the geology of Pennsylvania. Please refer to recent issues of the magazine for examples.

Feature Articles: All feature articles should be timely, lively, interesting, and well illustrated. The length of a feature article is ideally 5 to 7 pages, including illustrations. Each feature article should have three or more first-order headings separating the main ideas of the text. The illustrations should be cited as figures in the article and should include captions. If possible, the article should include a photograph suitable for printing on the cover.

Earth Science Teachers’ Corner: Articles pertaining to available educational materials, classroom exercises, book reviews, and other geologic topics of interest to earth science educators should be 1 to 2 pages in length and should include illustrations where possible.

New Publications: Announcements of new publications pertaining to the geology of Pennsylvania should not exceed 1 page in length and should include complete title, author, publisher, and ordering information (where to order, price, and method of payment), in addition to a brief description of the content of the publication.

Announcements: Announcements of new geological investigations by Survey staff, major meetings and conferences pertaining to the geology of Pennsylvania, significant awards received by Pennsylvania geologists, and other pertinent news items may be published in each issue. These announcements should be as brief as possible (less than 1 page) and should include, in the case of meetings, pertinent dates and information on registration.

Preparation and Submittal

Tips: Spell out everything. Abbreviate nothing! If you have an exception, explain it. Use people’s names as they themselves normally use them.

Double-check spellings (especially names, place names, and technical terms), facts, quotations, and citations.

We prefer not to publish footnotes or lengthy lists of references. Where possible, incorporate footnote information in your text, and provide a list of selected references.

Figure captions for feature articles should be sentences, not just labels. Tables, where needed, should have appropriate headings.

Above all, write for your readers, in clear English, bearing in mind that some readers are not earth scientists. According to an old newspaper rule, never underestimate a reader’s intelligence nor overestimate a reader’s knowledge.

Digital File Requirements: Text should be submitted as a Word Document or as a file that can be opened by Word. The type in the magazine is 12 point, Times New Roman, and the page has 0.75 inch margins. It is recommended that you use these settings when preparing copy in order to see the length of your article.

Line drawings should be submitted as CorelDRAW (v. 9 or above) or Adobe Illustrator (v. 8 or above) files. Do not submit JPG or TIF format for line art. In the Corel or Adobe files, please place all different types of objects and text on separate layers. Drawings should be designed to fit within the page margins and have labels, patterns, and linework that are clearly readable at 100-percent scale on the screen.

For digital photographs, images should be in TIF format, but high-quality JPG format is acceptable. Photographic prints should be scanned at 300 dpi and saved as an uncompressed TIF. If there is to be labeling, open the image in Photoshop and place any labels or linework on separate layers. Save the file as a TIF; do not flatten the image. Alternatively, you may mail a printed copy of the image showing the desired labels. Please do not place labels directly on the original photograph.

Cover Photographs: From time to time, photographs not related to feature articles are printed on the cover. Candidates for cover photographs must have sharp focus and show good contrast. Look for detail in the extremes of black and white to select a photograph of high quality. Provide about 50 words describing the geology shown in the photograph, including the location, the scale, the date the photograph was taken, and the name of the photographer.

Copyrighted Material: If you use material from a copyrighted work, you must submit a written release form signed by the copyright owner that gives the Pennsylvania Bureau of Topographic and Geologic Survey permission to publish the material online.

Submittal: All non-Survey authors may send their article and illustrations as email attachments to if the file sizes are less than 6 MB. For larger sizes, please submit the files on CD–ROM to the address given below. All submittals should include the author’s name, mailing address, telephone number, email address, and the date of submittal.

Bureau of Topographic and Geologic Survey
3240 Schoolhouse Road
Middletown, PA 17057
Telephone: 717–702–2017

Acceptance and Review

All articles will be reviewed by at least two geologists on the Survey staff. Acceptance of an article for publication will be based on our judgment as to whether it is clearly written, timely, lively, interesting, and suitable for the readers. Writing for a popular audience is frequently more difficult than writing technical papers. Reviewers may recommend modifications before an article is accepted.

Once accepted, the article will be prepared for publication by the magazine editor. A PDF proof copy will be sent to the author for final approval before the magazine is released online. It is important that you review the final copy thoroughly and inform the editor of any errors or changes.