Allegheny Front

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The Allegheny Front (AF) is the major southeast-facing escarpment of the Allegheny Mountains in Pennsylvania, Maryland and West Virginia, USA. It is closely associated with the Eastern Continental Divide (ECD) (which divides the waters of the Ohio/Mississippi River system from those of Chesapeake Bay) in this area — although it does not exactly coincide with it at every point. The AF delineates the Ridge-and-Valley Appalachians — to the east — from the Appalachian Plateau (locally called the Allegheny Plateau) — to the west. The AF is one of the windiest spots east of the Mississippi, a fact encouraging the recent establishment of wind farming there.



Along with the Catskill Escarpment (to the north) and the Cumberland escarpment (to the south), the AF makes up part of the Appalachian Structural Front. The AF extends for about 180 miles southwesterly from south-central Pennsylvania through western Maryland and divides the eastern panhandle of West Virginia from the rest of that state.

Passing within a few miles of the AF, and at some points coinciding with it, is the local segment of the ECD, which divides the Ohio River watershed (west) from the watersheds of the Susquehanna, Potomac and James Rivers (east).


The crest of the AF is as low as at the point where it crosses the Potomac. Its highest stretch is also its southernmost, in Randolph County, West Virginia, where it exceeds .Fenneman, Nevin M....
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