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Allegheny Front
The Allegheny Front in Pennsylvania.
Country  United States
States  Pennsylvania,  Maryland,  West Virginia,  Virginia
Part of Ridge-and-Valley Appalachians
Coordinates 40°24′N 77°18′W / 40.4°N 77.3°W / 40.4; -77.3
Highest point Grandview Summit [1]:a
 - location Eastern Continental Divide
 - elevation 3,010.3 ft (917.5 m)
 - coordinates 40°3′29″N 78°45′29″W / 40.05806°N 78.75806°W / 40.05806; -78.75806
Orogeny Alleghenian orogeny
The Allegheny Front is west of the Cumberland Valley and part of the Appalachian escarpment extending between the Helderberg Escarpment in New York to Walden Ridge in Tennessee.

The Allegheny Front is an escarpment which delineates the lower ridges of the Allegheny Mountains to the east from the eastern edge of the Appalachian Plateau (locally called the Allegheny Plateau) and the higher ridges of the Alleghenies. It is a part of the Ridge-and-Valley Appalachians and is conterminous with the Eastern Continental Divide (ECD) in this region.


Part of the Appalachian Structural Front (as are the Cumberland escarpment and the Catskill Escarpment),[2] the Allegheny Front extends southwesterly from south-central Pennsylvania through Western Maryland and five counties[3] of eastern West Virginia to the West Virginia/Virginia border.[4] In Maryland the front is known as Dans Mountain.[5] The ridgeline is as low as less than 2,000 feet (610 m) at one point.


The front was the edge of a salt evaporite basin formed at the end of the Silurian period, which created significant differences in the erosionary properties of rocks to either side of the front.[6] The terrain differences to either side are also partially caused by the Alleghenian orogeny, in which Gondwana impacted and overrode part of what is now the North American crustal plate, thrusting and piling up the ridge mountains of the physiographic regions to the east.[7]


  1. ^ "GISDATA Map Studio". United States Geological Survey. Retrieved 2009-12-09.  
    a. "USGS Elevation Web Service Query". Retrieved 2009-12-03.  : 1) Y_Value=40.058056&X_Value=-78.758056 ... 3010.25951315412
    b. quadrangle maps, 1:24,000, 7.5-Minute Series (Topographic)  : 1) Berlin, Pennsylvania, 2) Cumberland, Maryland-Pennsylvania-West Virginia
  2. ^ Price, Paul H. (1931). "The Appalachian Structural Front" ( Cornell University. Retrieved 2009-12-30.  
  3. ^ U.S. Geological Survey Geographical Names Information System: Allegheny Front
  4. ^ Hobson, Archie (1995). The Cambridge Gazetteer of the United States and Canada: A Dictionary of Places. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.  
  5. ^ Campbell, John C (1969) (html—Google Books). The Southern Highlander & His Homeland. Lexington, Kentucky: The University Press of Kentucky. p. 341. Retrieved tbd.  
  6. ^ Geophysics Study Committee; Commission on Geosciences, Environment, and Resources; National Research Council (1990). "The Role of Fluids in Crustal Processes" (html—Google Books). Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press. p. 143. "The Allegheny Front, which is the boundary between the Appalachian Valley and Ridge and [the Appalachian] Plateau"  
  7. ^ Fichter, Lynn S.; Baedke, Steve J. (2003-01-20). "The Geological Evolution of Virginia and the Mid-Atlantic Region: The Late Paleozoic Alleghanian Orogeny". James Madison University. Retrieved 2006-09-08.  


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