Geoscience in Your State: Pennsylvania

PDF versionPDF version
Cover of Geoscience Policy State Factsheet. Image credit: AGI

By the numbers: Pennsylvania

  • 16,480 geoscience employees (excludes self-employed)1
  • 628 million gallons/day: total groundwater withdrawal3
  • $1.85 billion: value of nonfuel mineral production in 20174
  • 59 total disaster declarations, including 26 flood, 16 severe storm, and 8 hurricane disasters (1953-2017)⁶
  • $9.1 million: NSF GEO grants awarded in 201714...

Agencies Working on Geoscience Issues in pennsylvania

Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection

The Department of Environmental Protection's mission is to protect Pennsylvania's air, land and water from pollution and to provide for the health and safety of its citizens through a cleaner environment. We will work as partners with individuals, organizations, governments and businesses to prevent pollution and restore our natural resources.

Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency

The Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency helps communities and citizens mitigate against, prepare for, respond to, and recover from emergencies including natural disasters, acts of terrorism, or other humanmade disasters.

Pennsylvania Geological Survey

The Pennsylvania Geological Survey's mission is 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.

Case Studies & Factsheets

Cover of Mitigating and Regulating Methane Emissions

Introduction Methane is the main component of almost all natural gas, and gas delivered to end-users is purified to 95-98% methane.1 There are three main sources of methane emissions from the oil and gas industry: When a well is being drilled, cleaned out, or hydraulically fractured. As the fluids...

CI_Factsheet_2017_5_drywellprograms_170906_thumb.JPG

Introduction Dry wells improve stormwater drainage and aquifer recharge by providing a fast, direct route for rainwater to drain deep into underlying sediment and rock. Dry wells are most common in the western U.S. where clay or caliche layers slow down the natural drainage of water into underlying...

Cover of AGI Factsheet 2018-004 - Present Day Climate Change

Climate Science 101 Climate is the average of weather conditions over several decades.1,2 Geoscientists monitor modern climate conditions (1880 A.D. to present) in part by taking direct measurements of weather data (i.e., air temperature, rainfall and snowfall, wind speed, cloudiness, and so on)...

Cover of Geoscience Policy State Factsheet. Image credit: AGI

By the numbers: Pennsylvania 16,480 geoscience employees (excludes self-employed)1 628 million gallons/day: total groundwater withdrawal3 $1.85 billion: value of nonfuel mineral production in 20174 59 total disaster declarations, including 26 flood, 16 severe storm, and 8 hurricane disasters (...

Cover of Abandoned Wells

Introduction In 2017, there were one million active oil and gas wells in the United States.1 When a well reaches the end of its productive life, or if it fails to find economic quantities of oil or gas, the well operator is required by regulators to remove all equipment and plug the well to prevent...

Cover of What Determines the Location of a Well

Introduction Oil- and gas-rich rocks are only found in certain parts of the United States, so most of the country has no oil or gas wells. Where oil and gas production is commercially viable, many factors determine the exact location of each well, including leasing, permitting, competing land uses...

Fig. 1. Exposure of sandstone capping an economic coal bed. Credit: J. Shaulis, Pennsylvania Geological Survey

Geologic maps provide critical information for coal resource exploration and for planners, regulators, decision makers, and the general public. Defining the Problem Despite Pennsylvania’s long history as a major coal producer, information on the coal geology (Fig. 1), remaining resources, and...

CI_Factsheet_2017_3_Deicing_170712_thumb

Background In areas prone to winter precipitation, transportation infrastructure must be able to quickly respond to snow and ice on roadways. Ice removal is a vital service in these communities. Deicing chemicals melt ice by lowering the temperature at which it melts. They can also prevent new ice...

Cover of Non-Fuel Products of Oil and Gas

Introduction Oil and natural gas are complex mixtures of chemicals. Oil refineries and gas processing plants extract the organic compounds that make the best fuels for transportation, heating, and electricity generation: gasoline, jet fuel, diesel fuel, heating oil, and methane. Other chemicals...

Cover of Spills in Oil and Natural Gas Fields

Introduction Oilfield spills can harm wildlife and pose a risk to human health if they reach fresh water sources or contaminate soil or air. The enormous size of the oil and gas industry and the huge volumes of oil and produced water that are handled, stored, and transported result in thousands of...

Cover of Groundwater Protection in Oil and Gas Production

Introduction The United States relies on groundwater for roughly 25% of its fresh water.1 This groundwater is found in porous, permeable rocks (aquifers) that often lie close to the Earth’s surface – the deepest freshwater aquifers are found more than 6,000 feet underground,2 but most are much...

Cover of Land Use in the Oil and Gas Industry

Introduction All energy production requires land. Reducing the land-use “footprint” of the energy industry is an important part of limiting environmental impacts while meeting our energy needs. Advanced exploration technologies such as 3D seismic imaging, and drilling technologies such as...

Cover of Water Sources for Hydraulic Fracturing

Hydraulic Fracturing and Water Demand Hydraulically fracturing a modern well can require millions of gallons of water for the initial fracturing process. This is a potential problem in arid regions with competing demands for fresh water (i.e. high water stress), such as Colorado and West Texas (see...

Cover of Using Produced Water

Opportunities and Concerns in Using Produced Water Produced water is natural groundwater that is extracted along with oil and gas. It is commonly salty and mixed with oil residues,1 so it must be either disposed of or treated and reused. About 2.5 billion gallons of produced water are extracted...

1 of 14

GOLI Online Courses

GOLI Course: Water as One Resource; Image Copyright © Marli Miller, University of Oregon. http://www.earthscienceworld.org/images
Course Type: GOLI Online Course

This course provides an overview of how groundwater and surface water interact, what the implications of these interactions on water resources are, and how water can be more effectively managed if an understanding of these interactions is incorporated.

The course presenters are Ken...