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: Extent and Boundaries

• The Blue Ridge lies between the Piedmont on the east and the Valley and Ridge to the west.  It has the highest mountains in the state.

(Image from College of William & Mary geology website, courtesy of C.M. Bailey)

• The physiographic boundary between the Piedmont and Blue Ridge is difficult to identify in central and northern Virginia because the physiography does not exactly match the geology. 

Physiographic map of the Piedmont and Blue Ridge in the Charlottesville area. Charlottesville is in the Piedmont physiographically, but is surrounded by Blue Ridge-type rocks, which form hills that rise above the Piedmont surface. (Image from The National Map, U.S. Geological Survey)

Above: Photograph of the western Piedmont from Afton Mountain west of Charlottesville.  Note the typical low-relief Piedmont surface with high peaks that resemble the rest of the Blue Ridge. (Photograph by Parvinder Sethi)