Pennsylvania is one of the 50 states of the United States; the 2nd to be precise. It is located in the Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic regions of the country, and is bordered by Maryland and Delaware to the south, West Virginia to the southwest, Ohio to the west, New York to the north, and New Jersey to the east. Its capital is Harrisburg, while the largest city is Philadelphia. Other major cities include Allentown, Erie, and Pittsburgh.
With a length of 170 miles and width of 283 miles, it covers an area of 44,817 square miles. In terms of area, it is the 33rd largest state of the United States. The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is divided into 67 counties for administrative purpose. It is the 6th most populous state in the US, with a population of 12,448,279.
Mountains and Plateaus
The plains of the Great Lake and Appalachian Plateau converge in the northwestern part of the state. The Appalachian mountains diagonally bisect the state from northeast to southwest. The Allegheny plateau lies to the northwest of the folded mountains. A number of water bodies cutting through this plateau make it appear like a mountainous range. The sedimentary rocks of Mississippian age lie beneath. The region has rich deposits of natural resources such as oil, coal, and gas. Mount Davis, with a height of 3,213 ft., is the highest point of the state.
Rivers and Lakes
The state has a 45,000 mile river network, 50 natural lakes, and 2,500 man-made lakes. Rivers like Delaware, Susquehanna, Monongahela, Allegheny, and Ohio are the major rivers of Pennsylvania. Delaware and Susquehanna drain the eastern parts of the state, while Monongahela and Allegheny drain the western part. Over the course, Monongahela and Allegheny join to form the Ohio river. The river system adds to the beauty of the state by creating natural water gaps and passageways. It has 57-mile long shoreline along the Delaware River estuary. Lake Erie, the 4th largest of the five Great Lakes, lies here. Other prominent lakes are Conneaut Lake, Porters Lake, Pymatuning Lake, and Wallenpaupack Lake.
Pennsylvania is broadly divided into three climatic zones. The lower regions of the state experience a moderate continental climate characterized by hot and humid summer, and cold winter. The highland areas experience a severe continental climate with warm and humid summer, and cold and snowy winter. The extreme southeastern part of the state experiences a humid subtropical climate with hot and humid summer, and mild winter.
The forested area of Pennsylvania consists of trees like hemlock, maple, oak, pine, walnut, and birch. Sweet gum species are more common in southwest, while red pine and paper birch are found in the forested areas of north. Small trees like June berry and New Jersey tea are also found in abundance. Northeastern bulrush species, which were once very commonly found in this area, are listed as endangered today, while species like small whorled pogonia and Virginia spiraea are enlisted as threatened.
The white-tailed deer is the state animal of Pennsylvania, while the ruffed grouse is the state bird. Black bear, gray foxes, musk rat, raccoon snowshoe hare, and flying squirrels are some mammals common to this part of the world. More than 150 species of fish delve in the water bodies of this American state; most common being the grass pickere, pirate perch, and white bass. Birds like robin, cardinal, barn swallow, and the English sparrow are found here in abundance.
With its spectacular geographical features and abundant natural resources, Pennsylvania is one of the most gifted places in the entire world.