Valley and Ridge Physiography Topics

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


Scenic Tour of the Valley and Ridge (Part 2)

Natural Chimneys

• The Natural Chimneys are located in the Shenandoah Valley of northern Augusta County.  The chimneys are a series of rock towers that rise as much as 120 feet above the adjacent floodplain of North River.

The Natural Chimneys are a dramatic karst feature in Shenandoah County. The chimneys are made of carbonate rock, and have been etched out by water dissolving away the rock along large fractures. (Photograph by Karen Cecil)

• The Natural Chimneys are karst features formed in nearly flat-lying beds of upper Cambrian dolomite and limestone.  The shapes of the columns are the result of solution along vertical joints.
cracks in rocks
570 to 505 million years ago

• The towers are part of Natural Chimneys Regional Park.  Visitors to the park can hike, camp, and enjoy the scenery of this unusual geologic locality.

The Natural Chimneys are composed of the Conococheague Formation of late Cambrian age. Solution tunnels or caves like the one shown here are present at the base of some of the towers. (Photograph by Karen Cecil)

570 to 505 million years ago

Click to return to Scenic Tour Location Map