/AnMtgsAbsts2009.55841 Orogeny and Pedogenesis of Southeastern Pennsylvania Viticultural Terroir.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009: 3:40 PM
Convention Center, Room 413, Fourth Floor

James Fisher, Soil Solutions, LLC, Malvern, PA
Viticultural production systems and the subsequent enological practices depend upon a nascent knowledge of a production region’s unique soil and landform qualities.  This concept is referred to as terroir.  The terroir of southeastern Pennsylvania is diverse and many soils have been proven to be very suitable for viticulture.  In conjunction with improved viticultural practices, enological development has progressed to utilize the characteristics of each region’s terroir and its effect on berry maturation.
Some of the optimal Pennsylvania terroir reside within an area which extends on a southwest to northeast axis from Adams county to the Pocono Mountains comprising the Great Valley section of the Ridge and Valley physiographic province and the Upland Piedmont section of the Piedmont physiographic province.
The orogeny of southeastern Pennsylvania involved thrust-faulting, carbonate deposition, and formation of the Alluvial Plain from eons of erosion. However, the unique orogeny of the two aforementioned physiographic provinces are quite dissimilar. The Piedmont is composed of red sedimentary rock from the late Jurassic with diabase intrusions, underlain by Ordovician metamorphic schist. Millions of years of erosion following the Alleghenian orogeny resulted in rolling pastoral foothills ranging from 300 to 800 feet MSL, local relief less than 200 feet, dendritic drainage, and silt-loam to clay-loam Dysrudepts and Hapludults. The parent material of the Piedmont includes saprolite, micaceous schist, and granitic gneiss. Diagnostic horizons include argillic horizons, fragipans, and ochric epipedons.
The Ridge and Valley province is primarily composed of Paleozoic sedimentary rock.  Alleghenian orogeny shifted the rock layers from the original horizontal deposition to contrasting angles.  Elevation ranges from 200 to1000 feet MSL.
The parent material of the Ridge and Valley province includes shale, siltstone, diabase, gabbro, and diorite in the north, and dolomitic limestone to the south.  Diagnostic horizons include argillic and cambic horizons, and ochric epipedons.