Geology of Southwest Virginia

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Southwest Virginia Project
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Image:SWP Geolog Provinces.gifSandstone, limestone and shale. These three kinds of rock characterize much of the Appalachians, with their respective properties controlling not only the topography of these ancient mountains but also their soils, ecology and biogeography. Stability Relations in Forests, R. F. Mueller March, 2000


Southwestern Virginia lies within three main geologic provinces: The Ridge and Valley, The Applachian Plateau, The Great Valley , and (barely) The Blue Ridge. These provinces extend well beyond Southwestern Virginia, but where ever found, originated during the same geological events, contain the same essential rock types, and have similar land forms. The differences between these provinces presented our ancestors with distinctly different opportunities and limitations. Different landforms gave them different choices as to what could be done with the land. Differences in underlying bedrock controlled, the type of natural plants that they would have access to, as well as how well different crops would fair on their land. Wherever they settled, the land beneath their feet exerted great control on their life.

The Formation of Southwest Virginia
The Ridge and Valley Geologic Province
The Appalachian Plateau Geologic Province
The Great Valley Geologic Province
The Blue Ridge Geologic Province