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 General Physiography: Extent and Boundaries

• The Plateaus province is the smallest and westernmost Appalachian Mountain province found in the state.  It is located mainly in the counties of Buchanan, Dickenson, and Wise.

Location map of the Appalachian Plateaus in Virginia. The Appalachian Plateaus occupies a few counties in the southwestern corner of the state. (Image from the Colleg of William & Mary geology website, courtesy of C.M. Bailey)

• Elevations in the Appalachian Plateaus province generally decrease from east to west.  The eastern edge of the Plateaus province, called the Allegheny Front, is an especially steep topographic feature.

View of the escarpment along the eastern edge of the Appalachian Plateaus near Cumberland Gap.  This imposing wall, composed of late Paleozoic sandstone and conglomerate, contrasts sharply with the low valley marking the western edge of the Valley and Ridge.  This escarpment (called the Allegheny Front) was a major barrier to westward migration during the early days of American history. (Photograph by Phyllis Newbill)

570 to 245 million years ago
cliff or steep slope