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The Boundaries and Geography of Appalachia
The Appalachians were formed during a series of collisions and separations of tectonic plates that began 300 million years ago and continued through the Paleozoic and Mesozoic Eras.
When the Appalachians were still forming, the continents were in different locations than today, and North America and Europe had collided.
The Appalachians were once an extension of the Caledonian mountain chain, a chain that is today in Scotland and Scandinavia.[link]
The Appalachian Regional Commission identifies their Appalachian interest as the 205,000 squaremile region that follows the spine of the Appalachian Mountains from southern New York to northern Mississippi.
It includes all of West Virginia and parts of 12 other states: Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Maryland, Mississippi, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia.
To date, this includes 420 counties in 13 states.
The Appalachian trail is not limited to just what is considered to be Southern states, nor does it stop in New York state; it runs all of the way up through New England into Canada and also includes the
U.S. New England states of Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts & Connecticut.
Piedmont "the foothills":
The Piedmont is a plateau region located in the Eastern United States. It sits between the Atlantic coastal plain and the main Appalachian Mountains,
stretching from New York in the north to central Alabama in the south.
The Atlantic Seaboard fall line marks the Piedmont's eastern boundary with the Coastal Plain. To the west, it is mostly bounded by the Blue Ridge Mountains,
the easternmost range of the main Appalachians. The width of the Piedmont varies, being quite narrow above the Delaware River but nearly 300 miles (475 km)
wide in North Carolina. The Piedmont's area is approximately 80,000 square miles (210,000 km2).
Not all of Appalachia is rural, and much of it has been urbanly developed, such as the Philadelphia metropolitan area in Pennsylvania.
The Piedmont cuts Maryland in half, covering the Baltimore–Washington metropolitan area.
In Virginia, the Greater Richmond metropolitan area is the largest urban concentration.
In North Carolina, the Piedmont Crescent includes several metropolitan clusters such as Charlotte metropolitan area,
the Piedmont Triad, and the Research Triangle. Other notable areas include the Greenville-Spartanburg-Anderson,
SC Combined Statistical Area in South Carolina, and in Georgia, the Atlanta metropolitan area.[source]
Blue Ridge and Northern Highlands
The mountain range is located in the eastern United States, and extends 550 miles southwest from southern Pennsylvania through Maryland,
West Virginia, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Georgia.
This province consists of northern and southern physiographic regions, which divide near the Roanoke River gap.
To the west of the Blue Ridge, between it and the bulk of the Appalachians, lies the Great Appalachian Valley, bordered on the west by the
Ridge and Valley province of the Appalachian range.[source]
Ridge & Valley
The Ridge-and-Valley Appalachians, also called the Ridge and Valley Province or the Valley and Ridge Appalachians, are a physiographic
province of the larger Appalachian division and are also a belt within the Appalachian Mountains extending from southeastern New York
through northwestern New Jersey, westward into Pennsylvania and southward into Maryland, West Virginia, Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia and Alabama.
They form a broad arc between the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Appalachian Plateau physiographic province (the Allegheny and Cumberland Plateaus).[source]
The Great Valley, also called the Great Appalachian Valley or Great Valley Region, is one of the major landform features of eastern North America.
It is a gigantic trough—a chain of valley lowlands—and the central feature of the Appalachian Mountain system. The trough stretches about 1,200 miles (1,900 km)
from Quebec, Canada to Alabama and has been an important north-south route of travel since prehistoric times.
Broadly defined, the Great Valley marks the eastern edge of the Ridge and Valley physiographic province. There are many regional names of the Great Valley, such as
the Shenandoah Valley. From a large perspective the Great Valley can be divided into a northern section and a southern section.[source]
The Appalachian Plateau is a series of rugged dissected plateaus located on the western side of the Appalachian Mountains. The Appalachian Mountains are a mountain range that run down the entire East Coast
of the United States. The Appalachian Plateau is the northwestern part of the Appalachian Mountains, stretching from New York to Alabama.
The plateau is a second level United States physiographic region, covering parts of the states of New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Maryland,
West Virginia, Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, and Georgia.[source]
The Adirondack Mountains form a massif in northeastern New York, United States. Its boundaries correspond roughly to the boundaries of Adirondack Park.
The Adirondack Park is a part of New York's Forest Preserve in northeastern New York, United States.
The park's boundary roughly corresponds with the Adirondack Mountains. Established in 1885, it was the first state preserve of its type in the nation.
Unlike most preserves, about 52 percent of the land is privately owned inholdings heavily regulated by the Adirondack Park Agency.
This area contains 102 towns and villages, as well as numerous farms, businesses, and an active timber harvesting industry.
The year-round population is 132,000, with 200,000 seasonal residents.
The inclusion of human communities makes the park one of the great experiments in conservation in the industrialized world.
It was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1963.
The park's 6.1 million acres include more than 10,000 lakes, 30,000 miles of rivers and streams, and a wide variety of habitats including wetlands
and old-growth forests.[source]
The Champlain Valley is a region of the United States around Lake Champlain in Vermont and New York extending north slightly into Quebec, Canada.
It is part of the St. Lawrence River drainage basin, drained northward by the Richelieu River into the St. Lawrence at Sorel-Tracy, Quebec.
The Mohawk Valley region of the U.S. state of New York is the area surrounding the Mohawk River, sandwiched between the Adirondack Mountains
and Catskill Mountains. As of the 2010 United States Census, the region's counties have a combined population of 622,133 people.
The Hudson Valley is a New York State region that stretches 7,228 square miles along the Hudson River from Westchester County to Albany, the state capital.
As of 2013, the area had a population of 1.17 million people.
The Kittatinny Valley is a section of the Great Appalachian Valley in Sussex and Warren counties in northwestern New Jersey that is bounded on the west by
Kittatinny Mountain, and in the east by the Highlands region.The valley is roughly 39 miles long, with an average breadth of 10 miles through the center of
Sussex and Warren Counties.
The Lehigh Valley is the third most populous Metropolitan Statistical Area in the state of Pennsylvania with a population of 841,914 residents as of the 2018 U.S. Census.
The principal cities are Allentown, Bethlehem and Easton, making up the Allentown–Bethlehem–Easton metropolitan area.
The traditional bounds of the region are The Poconos to the north, the Delaware River to the east, the boundaries of Berks County and Montgomery County
to the southwest, and the boundary with Bucks County to the south. More recently, however, parts of upper Bucks County around Quakertown, and portions
of eastern Berks County and southern Carbon and Schuylkill counties in Pennsylvania are considered outer parts of the Valley.
The Lehigh Valley is located approximately 60 mi (97 km) north of Philadelphia, 80 miles northeast of Harrisburg, and 90 miles west of New York City,
the country's largest city.
The Lebanon Valley is a geographic region that lies between South Mountain and the Ridge and Valley Province of eastern Pennsylvania, United States.
The valley lies almost entirely within Lebanon and Berks counties in Pennsylvania. Portions of the valley lie in eastern Dauphin and northern Lancaster
counties in Pennsylvania. It is bound to the south west by the Susquehanna River, and its northeastern terminus is the adjoining Lehigh Valley.
The valley is bound to the west and north by the Ridge-and-Valley Appalachians (Bear Pond Mountains/Blue Mountain), to the east and south by South Mountain,
to the northeast by the Susquehanna River at Harrisburg, and to the south by the Potomac River. The portion of the valley residing in Maryland is sometimes
referred to as the Hagerstown Valley.
Cities in the Cumberland Valley include Harrisburg, Pennsylvania and Hagerstown, Maryland. Pennsylvania boroughs include Camp Hill, Mechanicsburg, Carlisle,
Shippensburg, Chambersburg, Waynesboro, and Greencastle.
The Shenandoah Valley is a geographic valley and cultural region of western Virginia and the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia in the United States.
The valley is bounded to the east by the Blue Ridge Mountains, to the west by the eastern front of the Ridge-and-Valley Appalachians,
to the north by the Potomac River and to the south by the James River.
The James River is a river in the U.S. state of Virginia that begins in the Appalachian Mountains and flows 348 miles to the Chesapeake Bay.
The river length extends to 444 miles. It is the longest river in Virginia and the 12th longest river in the United States that remains entirely within a single state.
Jamestown and Williamsburg, Virginia’s first colonial capitals, and Richmond, Virginia's current capital, lie on the James River.
The Roanoke Valley in southwest Virginia is an area adjacent to and including the Roanoke River between the Blue Ridge Mountains to the east and the Appalachian Plateau to the west.
The valley includes much of Roanoke County, as well as the two independent cities of Roanoke and Salem.
The New River Valley is a region along the New River in Southwest Virginia in the United States. It is usually defined as the counties of Montgomery (including the towns of Blacksburg and Christiansburg), Pulaski, Floyd, and Giles and the independent city of Radford, which are all
located in the New River watershed. However, in Virginia, the New River also flows through Wythe, Carroll, and Grayson Counties, and its physical watershed includes parts of
Tazewell, Bland, and Smyth Counties. Outside of Virginia, the New River continues upstream into North Carolina and downstream into West Virginia.
Holston River. Holston River, river formed by the junction of the North and South forks just west of Kingsport, eastern Tennessee, U.S. It flows southwest through the
Great Appalachian Valley, joining the French Broad River near Knoxville to form the Tennessee River.
The Tennessee Valley begins in the upper head water portions of the Holston River, the Watauga River, and the Doe River in Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia,
as well as east of Asheville, North Carolina, with the headwaters of the French Broad and Pigeon rivers, all of which join at the confluence of the French Broad
and the Holston to form the Tennessee River in Knoxville. From there, the river travels southwest, absorbing additional tributaries of the Little River,
the Little Tennessee, and the Clinch, and further down, the Hiwassee and the Ocoee (both of which have sources in Georgia), before reaching Chattanooga.
Adjoining the Cumberland Plateau region on the southeast is the Appalachian Valley (locally known as Coosa Valley) region, which is the southern extremity
of the Appalachian Mountains, and occupies an area within the state of about 8,000 square miles
U.S. Geological Survey "Physiographic divisions of the conterminous U. S." @2007
Fenneman's map: "Physical Divisions of the United States," 1946.
National Registry of Historic Landmarks.
National Park Service, especially "Adirondacks: Native Americans"
"Structural style of the Appalachian Plateau fold belt, north-central Pennsylvania". Journal of Structural Geology.
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