Blue Ridge Physiography Topics

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

Blue Ridge Physiography: Special Features (Part 1)

Aerial Tour of the Southern Blue Ridge (Part 4)

View looking north along the Fancy Gap Mountain escarpment, the eastern edge of the Blue Ridge in Carroll County. Note how the edge of the Blue Ridge is eroded into ravines and ridges that merge with the Piedmont surface to the east (right). Relief here is about 1,500 feet. (Photograph by Robert Whisonant)

View of the Fancy Gap escarpment. Piedmont streams (toward left of photograph) flow east to the Atlantic, and Blue Ridge streams flow west to the Gulf of Mexico. The Atlantic streams have a much shorter distance to the ocean, so their gradients are higher. Higher gradients mean that these streams erode more quickly than lower gradient streams. Therefore, the drainage divide at Fancy Gap is constantly shifting to the west. In other words, the Piedmont streams are cutting back into the Blue Ridge and carrying its sediment away faster to the Atlantic Ocean. (Photograph by Parvinder Sethi)

View westward across the Blue Ridge and the top of Fancy Gap Mountain. Note the huge road cut (circled) along Interstate 77 in silvery phyllites belonging to the late Precambrian to early Paleozoic Alligator Back Formation. (Photograph by Parvinder Sethi)
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a long steep slope facing one general direction and separating two other surfaces
570 to 245 million years ago
more than 570 million years ago
metamorphic rocks that commonly have a silver sheen and a wrinkled surface
a long steep slope facing one general direction and separating two other surfaces