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Geography of Pennsylvania

by Vishul Malik

Pennsylvania is located in the Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic United States. It is the 33rd largest state. The commonwealth has 51 miles of coastline along Lake Erie and 57 miles of shoreline along the Delaware Estuary.

General Features

The US state of Pennsylvania is located in the Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic regions of the country.
It is bordered by Delaware and Maryland in the south, West Virginia in the southwest, Ohio in the west, New York and Ontario, Canada in the north, and New Jersey in the east. The commonwealth has 51 miles of coastline along Lake Erie and 57 miles of shoreline along the Delaware Estuary. Its topography varies from marine estuary to mountains plateau. The Allegheny Mountains or Allegheny Front as they are called, run diagonally from the southwest to the northeast, with Piedmont and Coastal Plains in the southeast triangle. Western Pennsylvania can be considered as a separate large geographical unit. The largest rivers in this area are the Allegheny River and the Monongahela River. The highest point in Pennsylvania, Mount Davis, is located near the southwestern corner of the Somerset County. The state has one of the largest seaports in the United States.

Geographical Facts About Pennsylvania

Total Area 46,058 square miles
Land Area 44,820 square miles
Water Area 1,239 square miles
Highest point Mount Davis (3,213 feet)
Lowest point The Delaware River (sea level)
Highest temperature 111 degrees Fahrenheit
Lowest temperature -42 degrees Fahrenheit
Geographic Center Centre County, 2.5 miles southwest of Bellefonte

Climate of Pennsylvania

The majority of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, with the exception of the southeastern corner, has humid continental climate. Greater Philadelphia has a few characteristics of humid subtropical climate. The mountainous interior of the state is cold. The western area, particularly cities near Lake Erie, can receive over 100 inches of snowfall annually. Rainfall is abundant throughout the state. Atlantic Ocean, Gulf of Mexico and Arctic influence the climate of the state. The highest temperature recorded was 111 degrees Fahrenheit, on July 10, 1936 at Phoenixville. The lowest temperature, -42 degrees Fahrenheit, was recorded on January 5, 1904 at Smethport. An average of ten tornadoes hit the state each year.


The largest lake in Pennsylvania is Lake Erie. It is the fourth-largest lake (by surface area) of the five Great Lakes in North America. It is the shallowest of the Great Lakes, with a mean elevation of 571 feet above sea level. The surface area of the lake is 9,940 square miles, with a length of 241 miles and breadth of 57 miles at its widest points.


Some of the major mountains in the state are:

  • Allegheny Mountain
  • Bald Mountain
  • Stone Mountain
  • Cross Mountain
  • Mount Davis
  • The Pinnacle
  • Pine Knob


Major Rivers of the state are:

  • Allegheny River
  • Christina River
  • Delaware River
  • Lehigh River

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