Bear Valley Strip Mine

The Bear Valley Strip Mine is an abandoned coal strip mine located in Coal Township, Northumberland County, to the southwest of the town of Shamokin, Pennsylvania. It lies in the Western Middle Field of the Anthracite belt in the Ridge-and-Valley Appalachians, where the Pennsylvanian Llewellyn Formation is exposed. The property is owned by the Reading Anthracite Company. [1]

View of the Bear Valley Strip Mine from the north wall facing southeast, with the "Whaleback" in center

Structural geologyEdit

The coal and other overlying rock has been removed by mining down to a resistant sandstone bed, revealing the three-dimensional structures of folding and faulting caused by the Alleghany Orogeny. Students of geology have visited the location for decades due to the quality of exposures.

The central anticline in the valley is often called the "Whaleback".

The sequence of structural deformation is outlined as follows:[1]

Stage Deformation event
I Joint formation in coal
II Joint formation with quartz fiber fillings in sandstone and ironstone
III Pressure solution and primary crenulation cleavage
IV Conjugate wrench and wedge faults form
V Large-scale folding
VI Extensional jointing and faulting



  1. ^ a b Sequence of structural stages of the Alleghany orogeny at the Bear Valley Strip Mine, Shamokin, Pennsylvania. Nickelsen, R. P. (Dept. of Geology, Bucknell University) Geological Society of America Centennial Field Guide—Northeastern Section, 1987

Coordinates: 40°45.8′N 76°35.7′W / 40.7633°N 76.5950°W / 40.7633; -76.5950