Appalachian Plateaus Physiography Topics

1. Regional Setting
2. Extent and Boundaries
3. Characteristic Features
4. Drainage
5. Scenic Tour
• Introduction to Physiography
• Coastal Plain
• Piedmont
• Mesozoic Basins
• Blue Ridge
• Valley and Ridge
• Appalachian Plateaus
• Virginia's Rivers

Appalachian Plateaus Physiography: Regional Setting (Part 1)

• The Plateaus province of the Appalachian Mountains extends from Alabama to New York state.

Location map showing the four major Appalachian physiographic provinces -- Piedmont (green), Blue Ridge (maroon), Valley and Ridge (red), and Appalachian Plateaus (blue)-- and the Coastal Plain (yellow). The Appalachian Plateaus extend from Alabama to New York state. (Image by Phyllis Newbill. Base map courtesy of the United States Geological Survey.)

This image shows the extent of the Plateaus province (arrow) in the eastern United States. In area, the Plateaus province is equal to the Valley and Ridge, Blue Ridge, and Piedmont combined.

The Plateaus province is subdivided into the Allegheny Plateau to the north and Cumberland Plateau to the south. The boundary between the two lies near the New River in West Virginia. One important difference between the two is that much of the Allegheny Plateau was covered by glaciers. The highest relief in the entire province is found in the Catskill Mountains (oval) of New York. (Image courtesy of the United States Geological Survey)

• The Plateaus province is the westernmost province in the southern and central Appalachians.  To the east is the Valley and Ridge province and to the west lie the central lowlands of the continental interior.

This physiographic map shows the Appalachian Plateaus province, which is bounded by out-facing escarpments on both the east and west sides. The eastern escarpment, called the Allegheny Front, faces the Valley and Ridge. The western escarpment separates the Plateaus from the central lowlands. (Image courtesy of the United States Geological Survey)

cliffs or steep slopes