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: Drainage (Part 3)


• Steep slopes that face toward the adjacent provinces, called escarpments, typically bound the Blue Ridge on both east and west sides.  Excellent examples of these escarpments are in the Peaks of Otter and Fancy Gap Mountain areas in central and southern Virginia.

Above: Photograph of the Peaks of Otter, looking west toward the Blue Ridge escarpment near Bedford.  For many years early in Virginia’s history, people thought that the Peaks of Otter were the highest mountains in the state because they rose so high above the Piedmont surface here.  Later Mount Rogers was accurately surveyed and found to have the highest elevation at 5,729 feet. (Photograph by William S. Henika)

Above: Photograph of the Piedmont-facing escarpment along Fancy Gap Mountain in southwestern Virginia’s Blue Ridge.  This steep escarpment rises 1500 feet above the adjoining Piedmont surface, and is eroded into a number of spurs and ravines.  The escarpment is a migrating stream divide in that higher gradient Piedmont streams flowing eastward are eroding into the edge of the Blue Ridge here, causing that edge to shift to the west over geologic time. (Photograph by Parvinder Sethi)