HOME
The Info List - Appalachian Mountains


--- Advertisement ---



The Appalachian Mountains
Appalachian Mountains
(/ˌæpəˈlæʃɪn, -ˈleɪtʃɪn/ ( listen);[note 1] French: les Appalaches), often called the Appalachians, are a system of mountains in eastern North America. The Appalachians first formed roughly 480 million years ago during the Ordovician
Ordovician
Period. They once reached elevations similar to those of the Alps
Alps
and the Rocky Mountains
Rocky Mountains
before experiencing natural erosion.[3][4] The Appalachian chain is a barrier to east-west travel, as it forms a series of alternating ridgelines and valleys oriented in opposition to most highways and railroads running east-west. Definitions vary on the precise boundaries of the Appalachians. The United States Geological Survey
United States Geological Survey
(USGS) defines the Appalachian Highlands physiographic division as consisting of thirteen provinces: the Atlantic Coast Uplands, Eastern Newfoundland Atlantic, Maritime Acadian Highlands, Maritime Plain, Notre Dame and Mégantic Mountains, Western Newfoundland Mountains, Piedmont, Blue Ridge, Valley and Ridge, Saint Lawrence Valley, Appalachian Plateaus, New England province, and the Adirondack areas.[5][6] A common variant definition does not include the Adirondack Mountains, which geologically belong to the Grenville Orogeny
Orogeny
and have a different geological history from the rest of the Appalachians.[7][8][9]

Contents

1 Overview

1.1 Origin of the name

2 Geography

2.1 Regions 2.2 Chief summits 2.3 Drainage

3 Geology

3.1 Mineral resources

4 Ecology

4.1 Flora 4.2 Fauna

5 See also 6 Footnotes 7 References 8 Sources 9 Further reading 10 External links

Overview[edit] The range is mostly in the United States
United States
(U.S.) but it extends into southeastern Canada, forming a zone from 100 to 300 mi (160 to 480 km) wide, running from the island of Newfoundland 1,500 mi (2,400 km) southwestward to Central Alabama
Alabama
in the United States.[discuss] The range covers parts of the islands of Saint Pierre and Miquelon, which comprise an overseas territory of France. The system is divided into a series of ranges, with the individual mountains averaging around 3,000 ft (910 m). The highest of the group is Mount Mitchell
Mount Mitchell
in North Carolina
North Carolina
at 6,684 feet (2,037 m), which is the highest point in the United States
United States
east of the Mississippi River. The term Appalachian refers to several different regions associated with the mountain range. Most broadly, it refers to the entire mountain range with its surrounding hills and the dissected plateau region. The term is often used more restrictively to refer to regions in the central and southern Appalachian Mountains, usually including areas in the states of Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia, Maryland, West Virginia, and North Carolina, as well as sometimes extending as far south as northern Alabama, Georgia and western South Carolina, and as far north as Pennsylvania, southern Ohio, and parts of southern upstate New York. The Ouachita Mountains
Ouachita Mountains
in Arkansas
Arkansas
and Oklahoma
Oklahoma
were originally part of the Appalachians as well but became disconnected through geologic history. Origin of the name[edit]

Detail of Diego Gutiérrez's 1562 map of the Western Hemisphere, showing the first known use of a variation of the place name "Appalachia" ("Apalchen") – from the map Americae sive qvartae orbis partis nova et exactissima descriptio

While exploring inland along the northern coast of Florida
Florida
in 1528, the members of the Narváez expedition, including Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca, found a Native American village near present-day Tallahassee, Florida
Tallahassee, Florida
whose name they transcribed as Apalchen or Apalachen [a.paˈla.tʃɛn]. The name was soon altered by the Spanish to Apalachee
Apalachee
and used as a name for the tribe and region spreading well inland to the north. Pánfilo de Narváez's expedition first entered Apalachee
Apalachee
territory on June 15, 1528, and applied the name. Now spelled "Appalachian," it is the fourth-oldest surviving European place-name in the US.[10] After the de Soto expedition in 1540, Spanish cartographers began to apply the name of the tribe to the mountains themselves. The first cartographic appearance of Apalchen is on Diego Gutierrez's map of 1562; the first use for the mountain range is the map of Jacques le Moyne de Morgues in 1565.[11] The name was not commonly used for the whole mountain range until the late 19th century. A competing and often more popular name was the "Allegheny Mountains", "Alleghenies", and even "Alleghania". In the early 19th century, Washington Irving
Washington Irving
proposed renaming the United States either Appalachia
Appalachia
or Alleghania.[12] In U.S. dialects in the southern regions of the Appalachians, the word is pronounced /ˌæpəˈlætʃɪnz/, with the third syllable sounding like "latch". In northern parts of the mountain range, it is pronounced /ˌæpəˈleɪtʃɪnz/ or /ˌæpəˈleɪʃɪnz/; the third syllable is like "lay", and the fourth "chins" or "shins".[13] There is often great debate between the residents of the regions as to which pronunciation is the more correct one. Elsewhere, a commonly accepted pronunciation for the adjective Appalachian is /ˌæpəˈlætʃiən/, with the last two syllables "-ian" pronounced as in the word "Romanian".[14] Geography[edit] Regions[edit]

Blue Ridge Mountains

The whole system may be divided into three great sections:[15]

Northern: The northern section runs from the Canadian province
Canadian province
of Newfoundland and Labrador
Newfoundland and Labrador
to the Hudson River. It includes the Long Range Mountains and Annieopsquotch Mountains on the island of Newfoundland, Chic-Choc Mountains
Chic-Choc Mountains
and Notre Dame Range in Quebec
Quebec
and New Brunswick, scattered elevations and small ranges elsewhere in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, the Longfellow Mountains in Maine, the White Mountains in New Hampshire, the Green Mountains
Green Mountains
in Vermont, and The Berkshires in Massachusetts
Massachusetts
and Connecticut. The Metacomet Ridge Mountains in Connecticut
Connecticut
and south-central Massachusetts, although contained within the Appalachian province, is a younger system and not geologically associated with the Appalachians. The Monteregian Hills, which cross the Green Mountains
Green Mountains
in Quebec, are also unassociated with the Appalachians. Central: The central section goes from the Hudson Valley to the New River (Great Kanawha) running through Virginia
Virginia
and West Virginia. It comprises (excluding various minor groups) the Valley Ridges between the Allegheny Front
Allegheny Front
of the Allegheny Plateau
Allegheny Plateau
and the Great Appalachian Valley, the New York– New Jersey
New Jersey
Highlands, the Taconic Mountains
Taconic Mountains
in New York, and a large portion of the Blue Ridge. Southern: The southern section runs from the New River onwards. It consists of the prolongation of the Blue Ridge, which is divided into the Western Blue Ridge (or Unaka) Front and the Eastern Blue Ridge Front, the Ridge-and-Valley Appalachians, and the Cumberland Plateau.

Bald Mountains

The Adirondack Mountains
Adirondack Mountains
in New York are sometimes considered part of the Appalachian chain but, geologically speaking, are a southern extension of the Laurentian Mountains
Laurentian Mountains
of Canada.[7][8][9]

Shaded relief map of the Cumberland Plateau
Cumberland Plateau
and Ridge-and-Valley Appalachians on the Virginia– West Virginia
West Virginia
border

In addition to the true folded mountains, known as the ridge and valley province, the area of dissected plateau to the north and west of the mountains is usually grouped with the Appalachians. This includes the Catskill Mountains
Catskill Mountains
of southeastern New York, the Poconos in Pennsylvania, and the Allegheny Plateau
Allegheny Plateau
of southwestern New York, western Pennsylvania, eastern Ohio
Ohio
and northern West Virginia. This same plateau is known as the Cumberland Plateau
Cumberland Plateau
in southern West Virginia, eastern Kentucky, western Virginia, eastern Tennessee, and northern Alabama. The dissected plateau area, while not actually made up of geological mountains, is popularly called "mountains," especially in eastern Kentucky
Kentucky
and West Virginia, and while the ridges are not high, the terrain is extremely rugged. In Ohio
Ohio
and New York, some of the plateau has been glaciated, which has rounded off the sharp ridges and filled the valleys to some extent. The glaciated regions are usually referred to as hill country rather than mountains. The Appalachian region is generally considered the geographical divide between the eastern seaboard of the United States
United States
and the Midwest region of the country. The Eastern Continental Divide
Eastern Continental Divide
follows the Appalachian Mountains
Appalachian Mountains
from Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania
to Georgia. The Appalachian Trail
Appalachian Trail
is a 2,175-mile (3,500 km) hiking trail that runs all the way from Mount Katahdin
Mount Katahdin
in Maine
Maine
to Springer Mountain
Mountain
in Georgia, passing over or past a large part of the Appalachian system. The International Appalachian Trail
Appalachian Trail
is an extension of this hiking trail into the Canadian portion of the Appalachian range in New Brunswick
New Brunswick
and Quebec. Chief summits[edit] The Appalachian belt includes, with the ranges enumerated above, the plateaus sloping southward to the Atlantic Ocean
Atlantic Ocean
in New England, and south-eastward to the border of the coastal plain through the central and southern Atlantic states; and on the north-west, the Allegheny and Cumberland plateaus declining toward the Great Lakes and the interior plains. A remarkable feature of the belt is the longitudinal chain of broad valleys, including The Great Appalachian Valley, which in the southerly sections divides the mountain system into two unequal portions, but in the northernmost lies west of all the ranges possessing typical Appalachian features, and separates them from the Adirondack group. The mountain system has no axis of dominating altitudes, but in every portion, the summits rise to rather uniform heights, and, especially in the central section, the various ridges and intermontane valleys have the same trend as the system itself. None of the summits reaches the region of perpetual snow.[15]

Old fault exposed by roadcut near Hazleton, Pennsylvania, along Interstate 81, such faults are common in the folded Appalachians

Mountains of the Long Range in Newfoundland reach heights of nearly 2,700 ft (800 m). In the Chic-Choc and Notre Dame mountain ranges in Quebec, the higher summits rise above 4,000 ft (1,200 m) in elevation. Isolated peaks and small ranges in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick
New Brunswick
vary from 1,000 to 2,700 ft (300 to 800 m). In Maine
Maine
several peaks exceed 4,000 ft (1,200 m), including Mount Katahdin
Mount Katahdin
at 5,267 feet (1,605 m). In New Hampshire, many summits rise above 5,000 ft (1,500 m), including Mount Washington in the White Mountains at 6,288 ft (1,917 m), Adams at 5,771 ft (1,759 m), Jefferson at 5,712 ft (1,741 m), Monroe at 5,380 ft (1,640 m), Madison at 5,367 ft (1,636 m), Lafayette at 5,249 feet (1,600 m), and Lincoln at 5,089 ft (1,551 m). In the Green Mountains
Green Mountains
the highest point, Mt. Mansfield, is 4,393 ft (1,339 m) in elevation; others include Killington Peak at 4,226 ft (1,288 m), Camel's Hump at 4,083 ft (1,244 m), Mt. Abraham at 4,006 ft (1,221 m), and a number of other heights exceeding 3,000 ft (900 m).[15] In Pennsylvania, there are over sixty summits that rise over 2,500 ft (800 m); the summits of Mount Davis and Blue Knob rise over 3,000 ft (900 m). In Maryland, Eagle Rock and Dans Mountain
Mountain
are conspicuous points reaching 3,162 ft (964 m) and 2,882 ft (878 m) respectively. On the same side of the Great Valley, south of the Potomac, are the Pinnacle 3,007 feet (917 m) and Pidgeon Roost 3,400 ft (1,000 m).[15] In West Virginia, more than 150 peaks rise above 4,000 ft (1,200 m), including Spruce Knob
Spruce Knob
4,863 ft (1,482 m), the highest point in the Allegheny Mountains. A number of other points in the state rise above 4,800 ft (1,500 m). Snowshoe Mountain
Mountain
at Thorny Flat 4,848 ft (1,478 m) and Bald Knob 4,842 ft (1,476 m) are among the more notable peaks in West Virginia.

Cliffs overlooking the New River near Gauley Bridge, West Virginia

The Blue Ridge Mountains, rising in southern Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania
and there known as South Mountain, attain elevations of about 2,000 ft (600 m) in that state. South Mountain
Mountain
achieves its highest point just below the Mason-Dixon
Mason-Dixon
line in Maryland
Maryland
at Quirauk Mountain 2,145 ft (654 m) and then diminishes in height southward to the Potomac River. Once in Virginia
Virginia
the Blue Ridge again reaches 2,000 ft (600 m) and higher. In the Virginia
Virginia
Blue Ridge, the following are some of the highest peaks north of the Roanoke River: Stony Man 4,031 ft (1,229 m), Hawksbill Mountain 4,066 ft (1,239 m), Apple Orchard Mountain
Mountain
4,225 ft (1,288 m) and Peaks of Otter
Peaks of Otter
4,001 and 3,875 ft (1,220 and 1,181 m). South of the Roanoke River, along the Blue Ridge, are Virginia's highest peaks including Whitetop Mountain
Mountain
5,520 ft (1,680 m) and Mount Rogers
Mount Rogers
5,729 ft (1,746 m), the highest point in the Commonwealth. Chief summits in the southern section of the Blue Ridge are located along two main crests—the Western or Unaka Front along the Tennessee- North Carolina
North Carolina
border and the Eastern Front in North Carolina—or one of several "cross ridges" between the two main crests. Major subranges of the Eastern Front include the Black Mountains, Great Craggy Mountains, and Great Balsam Mountains, and its chief summits include Grandfather Mountain
Mountain
5,964 ft (1,818 m) near the Tennessee- North Carolina
North Carolina
border, Mount Mitchell 6,684 ft (2,037 m) in the Blacks, and Black Balsam Knob 6,214 ft (1,894 m) and Cold Mountain
Mountain
6,030 ft (1,840 m) in the Great Balsams. The Western Blue Ridge Front is subdivided into the Unaka Range, the Bald Mountains, the Great Smoky Mountains, and the Unicoi Mountains, and its major peaks include Roan Mountain
Mountain
6,285 ft (1,916 m) in the Unakas, Big Bald 5,516 ft (1,681 m) and Max Patch
Max Patch
4,616 ft (1,407 m) in the Bald Mountains, Clingmans Dome
Clingmans Dome
6,643 ft (2,025 m), Mount Le Conte 6,593 feet (2,010 m), and Mount Guyot 6,621 ft (2,018 m) in the Great Smokies, and Big Frog Mountain
Mountain
4,224 ft (1,287 m) near the Tennessee-Georgia-North Carolina border. Prominent summits in the cross ridges include Waterrock Knob
Waterrock Knob
(6,292 ft (1,918 m)) in the Plott Balsams. Across northern Georgia, numerous peaks exceed 4,000 ft (1,200 m), including Brasstown Bald, the state's highest, at 4,784 ft (1,458 m) and 4,696 ft (1,431 m) Rabun Bald. Drainage[edit]

Paleogeographic reconstruction showing the Appalachian Basin area during the Middle Devonian
Middle Devonian
period[16]

There are many geological issues concerning the rivers and streams of the Appalachians. In spite of the existence of the Great Appalachian Valley, many of the main rivers are transverse to the mountain system axis. The drainage divide of the Appalachians follows a tortuous course which crosses the mountainous belt just north of the New River in Virginia. South of the New River, rivers head into the Blue Ridge, cross the higher Unakas, receive important tributaries from the Great Valley, and traversing the Cumberland Plateau
Cumberland Plateau
in spreading gorges (water gaps), escape by way of the Cumberland River
Cumberland River
and the Tennessee River rivers to the Ohio
Ohio
River and the Mississippi River, and thence to the Gulf of Mexico. In the central section, north of the New River, the rivers, rising in or just beyond the Valley Ridges, flow through great gorges to the Great Valley, and then across the Blue Ridge to tidal estuaries penetrating the coastal plain via the Roanoke River, James River, Potomac River, and Susquehanna River.[15] In the northern section the height of land lies on the inland side of the mountainous belt, and thus the main lines of drainage run from north to south, exemplified by the Hudson River.[15] However, the valley through which the Hudson River
Hudson River
flows was cut by the gigantic glaciers of the Ice Ages—the same glaciers that deposited their terminal moraines in southern New York and formed the east-west Long Island. Geology[edit] Main article: Geology of the Appalachians

USGS Appalachian zones in the United States

A look at rocks exposed in today's Appalachian mountains reveals elongated belts of folded and thrust faulted marine sedimentary rocks, volcanic rocks and slivers of ancient ocean floor, which provides strong evidence that these rocks were deformed during plate collision. The birth of the Appalachian ranges, some 480 Ma, marks the first of several mountain-building plate collisions that culminated in the construction of the supercontinent Pangaea
Pangaea
with the Appalachians near the center. Because North America
North America
and Africa were connected, the Appalachians formed part of the same mountain chain as the Little Atlas in Morocco. This mountain range, known as the Central Pangean Mountains, extended into Scotland, before the Mesozoic
Mesozoic
Era opening of the Iapetus Ocean, from the North America/Europe collision (See Caledonian orogeny). During the middle Ordovician
Ordovician
Period (about 496–440 Ma), a change in plate motions set the stage for the first Paleozoic mountain-building event (Taconic orogeny) in North America. The once-quiet Appalachian passive margin changed to a very active plate boundary when a neighboring oceanic plate, the Iapetus, collided with and began sinking beneath the North American craton. With the birth of this new subduction zone, the early Appalachians were born. Along the continental margin, volcanoes grew, coincident with the initiation of subduction. Thrust faulting uplifted and warped older sedimentary rock laid down on the passive margin. As the mountains rose, erosion began to wear them down. Streams carried rock debris downslope to be deposited in nearby lowlands. The Taconic Orogeny
Orogeny
was just the first of a series of mountain building plate collisions that contributed to the formation of the Appalachians, culminating in the collision of North America
North America
and Africa (see Alleghanian orogeny).[17] By the end of the Mesozoic
Mesozoic
Era, the Appalachian Mountains
Appalachian Mountains
had been eroded to an almost flat plain.[17] It was not until the region was uplifted during the Cenozoic Era
Cenozoic Era
that the distinctive topography of the present formed.[18] Uplift rejuvenated the streams, which rapidly responded by cutting downward into the ancient bedrock. Some streams flowed along weak layers that define the folds and faults created many millions of years earlier. Other streams downcut so rapidly that they cut right across the resistant folded rocks of the mountain core, carving canyons across rock layers and geologic structures. Mineral resources[edit] The Appalachian Mountains
Appalachian Mountains
contain major deposits of anthracite coal as well as bituminous coal. In the folded mountains the coal is in metamorphosed form as anthracite, represented by the Coal
Coal
Region of northeastern Pennsylvania. The bituminous coal fields of western Pennsylvania, western Maryland, southeastern Ohio, eastern Kentucky, southwestern Virginia, and West Virginia
West Virginia
contain the sedimentary form of coal.[19] The mountain top removal method of coal mining, in which entire mountain tops are removed, is currently threatening vast areas and ecosystems of the Appalachian Mountain
Mountain
region.[20] The 1859 discovery of commercial quantities of petroleum in the Appalachian Mountains
Appalachian Mountains
of western Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania
started the modern United States
United States
petroleum industry.[21] Recent discoveries of commercial natural gas deposits in the Marcellus Shale
Marcellus Shale
formation and Utica Shale formations have once again focused oil industry attention on the Appalachian Basin. Some plateaus of the Appalachian Mountains
Appalachian Mountains
contain metallic minerals such as iron and zinc.[22] Ecology[edit] Further information: Appalachian-Blue Ridge forests, Appalachian mixed mesophytic forests, Appalachian temperate rainforest, New England/Acadian forests, and Appalachian bogs Flora[edit]

View from Mount Mitchell. At 6,684 ft (2,037 m), Mount Mitchell in North Carolina
North Carolina
is the highest peak east of the Mississippi River

The floras of the Appalachians are diverse and vary primarily in response to geology, latitude, elevation and moisture availability. Geobotanically, they constitute a floristic province of the North American Atlantic Region. The Appalachians consist primarily of deciduous broad-leaf trees and evergreen needle-leaf conifers, but also contain the evergreen broad-leaf American holly
American holly
(Ilex opaca), and the deciduous needle-leaf conifer, the tamarack, or eastern larch (Larix laricina). The dominant northern and high elevation conifer is the red spruce (Picea rubens), which grows from near sea level to above 4,000 ft (1,200 m) above sea level (asl) in northern New England
New England
and southeastern Canada. It also grows southward along the Appalachian crest to the highest elevations of the southern Appalachians, as in North Carolina
North Carolina
and Tennessee. In the central Appalachians it is usually confined above 3,000 ft (900 m) asl, except for a few cold valleys in which it reaches lower elevations. In the southern Appalachians, it is restricted to higher elevations. Another species is the black spruce (Picea mariana), which extends farthest north of any conifer in North America, is found at high elevations in the northern Appalachians, and in bogs as far south as Pennsylvania. The Appalachians are also home to two species of fir, the boreal balsam fir (Abies balsamea), and the southern high elevation endemic, Fraser fir
Fraser fir
(Abies fraseri). Fraser fir
Fraser fir
is confined to the highest parts of the southern Appalachian Mountains, where along with red spruce it forms a fragile ecosystem known as the Southern Appalachian spruce-fir forest. Fraser fir
Fraser fir
rarely occurs below 5,500 ft (1,700 m), and becomes the dominant tree type at 6,200 ft (1,900 m).[23] By contrast, balsam fir is found from near sea level to the tree line in the northern Appalachians, but ranges only as far south as Virginia
Virginia
and West Virginia
West Virginia
in the central Appalachians, where it is usually confined above 3,900 ft (1,200 m) asl, except in cold valleys. Curiously, it is associated with oaks in Virginia. The balsam fir of Virginia
Virginia
and West Virginia
Virginia
is thought by some to be a natural hybrid between the more northern variety and Fraser fir. While red spruce is common in both upland and bog habitats, balsam fir, as well as black spruce and tamarack, are more characteristic of the latter. However balsam fir also does well in soils with a pH as high as 6.[24]

Shenandoah National Park

Eastern or Canada
Canada
hemlock (Tsuga canadensis) is another important evergreen needle-leaf conifer that grows along the Appalachian chain from north to south but is confined to lower elevations than red spruce and the firs. It generally occupies richer and less acidic soils than the spruce and firs and is characteristic of deep, shaded and moist mountain valleys and coves. It is, unfortunately, subject to the hemlock woolly adelgid (Adelges tsugae), an introduced insect, that is rapidly extirpating it as a forest tree. Less abundant, and restricted to the southern Appalachians, is Carolina hemlock
Carolina hemlock
(Tsuga caroliniana). Like Canada
Canada
hemlock, this tree suffers severely from the hemlock woolly adelgid. Several species of pines characteristic of the Appalachians are eastern white pine (Pinus strobus), Virginia
Virginia
pine (Pinus virginiana), pitch pine (Pinus rigida), Table Mountain
Mountain
pine (Pinus pungens) and shortleaf pine (Pinus echinata). Red pine
Red pine
(Pinus resinosa) is a boreal species that forms a few high elevation outliers as far south as West Virginia. All of these species except white pine tend to occupy sandy, rocky, poor soil sites, which are mostly acidic in character. White pine, a large species valued for its timber, tends to do best in rich, moist soil, either acidic or alkaline in character. Pitch pine
Pitch pine
is also at home in acidic, boggy soil, and Table Mountain
Mountain
pine may occasionally be found in this habitat as well. Shortleaf pine
Shortleaf pine
is generally found in warmer habitats and at lower elevations than the other species. All the species listed do best in open or lightly shaded habitats, although white pine also thrives in shady coves, valleys, and on floodplains.

The view from Craggy Gardens on the Blue Ridge Parkway

The Appalachians are characterized by a wealth of large, beautiful deciduous broadleaf (hardwood) trees. Their occurrences are best summarized and described in E. Lucy Braun's 1950 classic, Deciduous Forests of Eastern North America
North America
(Macmillan, New York). The most diverse and richest forests are the mixed mesophytic or medium moisture types, which are largely confined to rich, moist montane soils of the southern and central Appalachians, particularly in the Cumberland and Allegheny Mountains, but also thrive in the southern Appalachian coves. Characteristic canopy species are white basswood (Tilia heterophylla), yellow buckeye (Aesculus octandra), sugar maple (Acer saccharum), American beech
American beech
(Fagus grandifolia), tuliptree (Liriodendron tulipifera), white ash (Fraxinus americana) and yellow birch (Betula alleganiensis). Other common trees are red maple (Acer rubrum), shagbark and bitternut hickories (Carya ovata and C. cordiformis) and black or sweet birch (Betula lenta). Small understory trees and shrubs include flowering dogwood (Cornus florida), hophornbeam (Ostrya virginiana), witch-hazel (Hamamelis virginiana) and spicebush ( Lindera
Lindera
benzoin). There are also hundreds of perennial and annual herbs, among them such herbal and medicinal plants as American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius), goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis), bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis) and black cohosh (Cimicifuga racemosa). The foregoing trees, shrubs, and herbs are also more widely distributed in less rich mesic forests that generally occupy coves, stream valleys and flood plains throughout the southern and central Appalachians at low and intermediate elevations. In the northern Appalachians and at higher elevations of the central and southern Appalachians these diverse mesic forests give way to less diverse "northern hardwoods" with canopies dominated only by American beech, sugar maple, American basswood
American basswood
(Tilia americana) and yellow birch and with far fewer species of shrubs and herbs. Dryer and rockier uplands and ridges are occupied by oak-chestnut type forests dominated by a variety of oaks (Quercus spp.), hickories (Carya spp.) and, in the past, by the American chestnut
American chestnut
(Castanea dentata). The American chestnut
American chestnut
was virtually eliminated as a canopy species by the introduced fungal chestnut blight (Cryphonectaria parasitica), but lives on as sapling-sized sprouts that originate from roots, which are not killed by the fungus. In present-day forest canopies, chestnut has been largely replaced by oaks. The oak forests of the southern and central Appalachians consist largely of black, northern red, white, chestnut and scarlet oaks (Quercus velutina, Q. rubra, Q. alba, Q. prinus and Q. coccinea) and hickories, such as the pignut (Carya glabra) in particular. The richest forests, which grade into mesic types, usually in coves and on gentle slopes, have dominantly white and northern red oaks, while the driest sites are dominated by chestnut oak, or sometimes by scarlet or northern red oaks. In the northern Appalachians the oaks, except for white and northern red, drop out, while the latter extends farthest north.

Great laurel thicket in the Pisgah National Forest

The oak forests generally lack the diverse small tree, shrub and herb layers of mesic forests. Shrubs are generally ericaceous, and include the evergreen mountain laurel (Kalmia latifolia), various species of blueberries (Vaccinium spp.), black huckleberry (Gaylussacia baccata), a number of deciduous rhododendrons (azaleas), and smaller heaths such as teaberry (Gaultheria procumbens) and trailing arbutus (Epigaea repens). The evergreen great rhododendron ( Rhododendron
Rhododendron
maximum) is characteristic of moist stream valleys. These occurrences are in line with the prevailing acidic character of most oak forest soils. In contrast, the much rarer chinquapin oak (Quercus muehlenbergii) demands alkaline soils and generally grows where limestone rock is near the surface. Hence no ericaceous shrubs are associated with it. The Appalachian floras also include a diverse assemblage of bryophytes (mosses and liverworts), as well as fungi. Some species are rare and/or endemic. As with vascular plants, these tend to be closely related to the character of the soils and thermal environment in which they are found. Eastern deciduous forests are subject to a number of serious insect and disease outbreaks. Among the most conspicuous is that of the introduced gypsy moth (Lymantria dispar), which infests primarily oaks, causing severe defoliation and tree mortality. But it also has the benefit of eliminating weak individuals, and thus improving the genetic stock, as well as creating rich habitat of a type through accumulation of dead wood. Because hardwoods sprout so readily, this moth is not as harmful as the hemlock woolly adelgid. Perhaps more serious is the introduced beech bark disease complex, which includes both a scale insect (Cryptococcus fagisuga) and fungal components.

Cranberry Glades, a bog preserve in West Virginia

During the 19th and early 20th centuries, the Appalachian forests were subject to severe and destructive logging and land clearing, which resulted in the designation of the national forests and parks as well many state protected areas. However, these and a variety of other destructive activities continue, albeit in diminished forms; and thus far only a few ecologically based management practices have taken hold. Appalachian bogs
Appalachian bogs
are boreal ecosystems, which occur in many places in the Appalachians, particularly the Allegheny and Blue Ridge subranges.[25][26] Though popularly called bogs, many of them are technically fens.[27] Fauna[edit] Animals that characterize the Appalachian forests include five species of tree squirrels. The most commonly seen is the low to moderate elevation eastern gray squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis). Occupying similar habitat is the slightly larger fox squirrel (Sciurus niger) and the much smaller southern flying squirrel (Glaucomys volans). More characteristic of cooler northern and high elevation habitat is the red squirrel (Tamiasciurus hudsonicus), whereas the Appalachian northern flying squirrel (Glaucomys sabrinus fuscus), which closely resembles the southern flying squirrel, is confined to northern hardwood and spruce-fir forests.

Southern flying squirrel

As familiar as squirrels are the eastern cottontail rabbit (Silvilagus floridanus) and the white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus). The latter in particular has greatly increased in abundance as a result of the extirpation of the eastern wolf (Canis lupus lycaon) and the cougar. This has led to the overgrazing and browsing of many plants of the Appalachian forests, as well as destruction of agricultural crops. Other deer include the moose (Alces laces), found only in the north, and the elk (Cervus canadensis), which, although once extirpated, is now making a comeback, through transplantation, in the southern and central Appalachians. In Quebec, the Chic-Chocs host the only population of caribou (Rangifer tarandus) south of the St. Lawrence River. An additional species that is common in the north but extends its range southward at high elevations to Virginia
Virginia
and West Virginia is the varying of snowshoe hare (Lepus americanus). However, these central Appalachian populations are scattered and very small. Another species of great interest is the beaver (Castor canadensis), which is showing a great resurgence in numbers after its near extirpation for its pelt. This resurgence is bringing about a drastic alteration in habitat through the construction of dams and other structures throughout the mountains. Other common forest animals are the black bear (Ursus americanus), striped skunk (Mephitis mephitis), raccoon (Procyon lotor), woodchuck (Marmota monax), bobcat (Felis rufus), gray fox (Urocyon cinereoargenteus), red fox (Vulpes vulpes) and in recent years, the coyote (Canis latrans), another species favored by the advent of Europeans and the extirpation of eastern and red wolves. European boars were introduced in the early 20th century. Characteristic birds of the forest are wild turkey (Meleagris gallopavo silvestris), ruffed grouse (Bonasa umbellus), mourning dove (Zenaida macroura), common raven (Corvus corax), wood duck (Aix sponsa), great horned owl (Bubo virginianus), barred owl (Strix varia), screech owl (Megascops asio), red-tailed hawk (Buteo jamaicensis), red-shouldered hawk (Buteo lineatus), and northern goshawk (Accipiter gentilis), as well as a great variety of "songbirds" (Passeriformes), like the warblers in particular.

Male eastern wild turkey

Of great importance are the many species of salamanders and, in particular, the lungless species (Family Plethodontidae) that live in great abundance concealed by leaves and debris, on the forest floor. Most frequently seen, however, is the eastern or red-spotted newt (Notophthalmus viridescens), whose terrestrial eft form is often encountered on the open, dry forest floor. It has been estimated that salamanders represent the largest class of animal biomass in the Appalachian forests. Frogs and toads are of lesser diversity and abundance, but the wood frog (Rana sylvatica) is, like the eft, commonly encountered on the dry forest floor, while a number of species of small frogs, such as spring peepers (Pseudacris crucifer), enliven the forest with their calls. Salamanders and other amphibians contribute greatly to nutrient cycling through their consumption of small life forms on the forest floor and in aquatic habitats. Although reptiles are less abundant and diverse than amphibians, a number of snakes are conspicuous members of the fauna. One of the largest is the non-venomous black rat snake (Elaphe obsoleta obsoleta), while the common garter snake (Thamnophis sirtalis) is among the smallest but most abundant. The American copperhead (Agkistrodon contortrix) and the timber rattler (Crotalus horridus) are venomous pit vipers. There are few lizards, but the broad-headed skink (Eumeces laticeps), at up to 13 in (33 cm) in length, and an excellent climber and swimmer, is one of the largest and most spectacular in appearance and action. The most common turtle is the eastern box turtle (Terrapene carolina carolina), which is found in both upland and lowland forests in the central and southern Appalachians. Prominent among aquatic species is the large common snapping turtle (Chelydra serpentina), which occurs throughout the Appalachians. Appalachian streams are notable for their highly diverse freshwater fish life. Among the most abundant and diverse are those of the minnow family (family Cyprinidae), while species of the colorful darters (Percina spp.) are also abundant.[28] A characteristic fish of shaded, cool Appalachian forest streams is the wild brook or speckled trout (Salvelinus fontinalis), which is much sought after as a game fish. However, in past years such trout waters have been much degraded by increasing temperatures due to timber cutting, pollution from various sources and potentially, global warming. See also[edit]

Flora of the Appalachian Mountains Appalachia Appalachian culture Appalachian League Appalachian Mountain
Mountain
Club Appalachian Trail

Footnotes[edit]

^ There are at least eight possible pronunciations depending on three factors:

Whether the stressed vowel is /æ/, Whether the "ch" is pronounced as a fricative /ʃ/ or an affricate /tʃ/, and Whether the final -ia is the monophthong /ᵻ/ or the vowel sequence /iə/.

References[edit]

^ "International Appalachian Trail- Newfoundland". Iatnl.ca. Retrieved 2010-11-06.  ^ Cees R. van Staal, Mineral Deposits of Canada: Regional Metallogeny: Pre-Carboniferous tectonic evolution and metallogeny of the Canadian Appalachians Archived March 11, 2009, at the Wayback Machine., Geological Survey of Canada
Canada
website ^ "The Mountains That Froze the World". AAAS. Retrieved 2012-04-04.  ^ "Geology of the Great Smoky Mountains". usgs. Archived from the original on 2013-01-17. Retrieved 2012-04-04.  ^ "Physiographic divisions of the conterminous U. S." U.S. Geological Survey. Archived from the original on 5 December 2007. Retrieved 2007-12-06.  ^ "The Atlas of Canada—Physiographic Regions". Archived from the original on 12 December 2007. Retrieved 2007-12-07.  ^ a b "Geomorphology From Space — Appalachian Mountains". NASA. Archived from the original on 6 December 2007. Retrieved 2007-12-27.  ^ a b "Adirondack Mountains". Peakbagger.com. Retrieved 2007-12-27.  ^ a b Weidensaul, Scott (1994). Mountains of the Heart: A Natural History of the Appalachians. Fulcrum Publishing. pp. ix. ISBN 1-55591-139-0.  ^ After Florida, Cape Canaveral, and Dry Tortugas: Stewart, George (1945). Names on the Land: A Historical Account of Place-Naming in the United States. New York: Random House. pp. 11–13, 17, 18.  ^ Walls, David (1978), "On the Naming of Appalachia" In An Appalachian Symposium, pp. 56-76. ^ Stewart, George R. (1967). Names on the Land. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company. ^ David Walls, "Appalachia". The Encyclopedia of Appalachia (Knoxville, Tenn.: University of Tennessee
Tennessee
Press, 2006), 1006–1007. ^ Define "Appalachian". Random House Dictionary, online at Dictionary.com. Retrieved 15 May 2011. ^ a b c d e f  One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Spencer, Arthur Coe (1911). "Appalachian Mountains". In Chisholm, Hugh. Encyclopædia Britannica. 2 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. pp. 207–208.  ^ Blakey, Ron. "Paleogeography and Geologic Evolution of North America". Global Plate Tectonics and Paleogeography. Northern Arizona University. Archived from the original on 21 June 2008. Retrieved 2008-07-04.  ^ a b "Geologic Provinces of the United States: Appalachian Highlands Province". USGS. Retrieved 2010-07-19.  ^ Poag, C. Wylie; Sevon, William D. (September 1989). "A record of Appalachian denudation in postrift Mesozoic
Mesozoic
and Cenozoic sedimentary deposits of the U.S. Middle Atlantic continental margin". Geomorphology. 2 (1-3): 119–157. doi:10.1016/0169-555X(89)90009-3.  ^ Ruppert, Leslie F. "Executive Summary— Coal
Coal
Resource Assessment of Selected Coal
Coal
Beds and Zones in the Northern and Central Appalachian Basin Coal
Coal
Regions" (PDF). USGS. Archived (PDF) from the original on 15 July 2010. Retrieved 2010-07-19.  ^ Palmer, M. A.; Bernhardt, E. S.; Schlesinger, W. H.; Eshleman, K. N.; Foufoula-Georgiou, E.; Hendryx, M. S.; Lemly, A. D.; Likens, G. E.; Loucks, O. L.; Power, M. E.; White, P. S.; Wilcock, P. R. (8 January 2010). "Mountaintop Mining Consequences". Science. 327 (5962): 148–149. doi:10.1126/science.1180543. ISSN 1095-9203.  ^ Ryder, R.T. "Appalachian Basin Province (067)" (PDF). USGS. Retrieved 2010-07-19.  ^ Mineral Resources of the Appalachian Region. USGS. 1968. Professional Paper 580.  ^ Rose Houk, Great Smoky Mountains
Great Smoky Mountains
National Park: A Natural History Guide (Boston: Houghton-Mifflin, 1993), pp. 50-62. ^ Fowells, H.A., 1965, Silvics of Forest Trees of the United States, Agricultural Handbook No. 271, U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Forest Service, Washington D.C. ^ https://www.fws.gov/southeast/pubs/mtbog.pdf ^ https://www.fws.gov/refuge/mountain_bogs/ ^ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YF0QNPA8IsM&index=32&list=PLnN7OGI1bJ88pzzjPYF-U6pgYTwj_8nHe ^ Page, Lawrence M. and Brooks M. Burr 1991, A Field Guide to Freshwater Fishes, North America, North of Mexico, Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston

Sources[edit]

Topographic maps and Geologic Folios of the United States
United States
Geological Survey

Further reading[edit]

Brooks, Maurice (1965), The Appalachians: The Naturalist's America; illustrated by Lois Darling and Lo Brooks. Boston; Houghton Mifflin Company. Caudill, Harry M. (1963), Night Comes to the Cumberlands. ISBN 0-316-13212-8. Constantz, George (2004), Hollows, Peepers, and Highlanders: an Appalachian Mountain
Mountain
Ecology (2nd edition). West Virginia
West Virginia
University Press; Morgantown. 359 p. Olson, Ted (1998), "Blue Ridge Folklife. University Press of Mississippi, 211 pages, ISBN 1-57806-023-0. Rehder, John (2013) "Appalachian Folkways," Koxville: University of Tennessee
Tennessee
Press. Chapters iii., iv. and v. of Miss E. C. Semple's American History and its Geographic Conditions (Boston, 1903). Weidensaul, Scott (2000), Mountains of the Heart: A Natural History of the Appalachians. Fulcrum Publishing, 288 pages, ISBN 1-55591-139-0. Bailey Willis, The Northern Appalachians, and C. W. Hayes, The Southern Appalachians, both in National Geographic Monographs, vol. 9.

Appalachian flora and fauna-related journals

Castanea, the journal of the Southern Appalachian Botanical Society. Banisteria, a journal devoted to the natural history of Virginia. The Journal of the Torrey Botanical Society.

External links[edit]

Find more aboutAppalachian Mountainsat's sister projects

Media from Wikimedia Commons Texts from Wikisource Travel guide from Wikivoyage Data from Wikidata

Appalachian/Blue Ridge Forests images at bioimages.vanderbilt.edu (slow modem version) Appalachian Mixed Mesophytic Forests images at bioimages.vanderbilt.edu (slow modem version) University of Kentucky
Kentucky
Appalachian Center Forests of the Central Appalachians Project Detailed inventories of forest species at dozens of sites.

v t e

United States articles

History

By event

Timeline of U.S. history Pre-Columbian era Colonial era

Thirteen Colonies military history Continental Congress

American Revolution

War

American frontier Confederation Period Drafting and ratification of Constitution Federalist Era War of 1812 Territorial acquisitions Territorial evolution Mexican–American War Civil War Reconstruction Era Indian Wars Gilded Age Progressive Era African-American civil rights movement 1865–1896 / 1896–1954 / 1954–1968 Spanish–American War Imperialism World War I Roaring Twenties Great Depression World War II

home front Nazism in the United States

American Century Cold War Korean War Space Race Feminist Movement Vietnam War Post- Cold War
Cold War
(1991–2008) War on Terror

War in Afghanistan Iraq War

Recent events (2008–present)

By topic

Outline of U.S. history Demographic Discoveries Economic

debt ceiling

Inventions

before 1890 1890–1945 1946–91 after 1991

Military Postal Technological and industrial

Geography

Territory

counties federal district federal enclaves Indian reservations insular zones minor outlying islands populated places states

Earthquakes Extreme points Islands Mountains

peaks ranges Appalachian Rocky

National Park Service

National Parks

Regions

East Coast West Coast Great Plains Gulf Mid-Atlantic Midwestern New England Pacific Central Eastern Northern Northeastern Northwestern Southern Southeastern Southwestern Western

Rivers

Colorado Columbia Mississippi Missouri Ohio Rio Grande Yukon

Time Water supply and sanitation

Politics

Federal

Executive

Cabinet Civil service Executive departments Executive Office Independent agencies Law enforcement President of the United States Public policy

Legislative

House of Representatives

current members Speaker

Senate

current members President pro tempore Vice President

Judicial

Courts of appeals District courts Supreme Court

Law

Bill of Rights

civil liberties

Code of Federal Regulations Constitution

federalism preemption separation of powers

Federal Reporter United States
United States
Code United States
United States
Reports

Intelligence

Central Intelligence Agency Defense Intelligence Agency Federal Bureau of Investigation National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency National Reconnaissance Office National Security Agency Office of the Director of National Intelligence

Uniformed

Armed Forces

Army Marine Corps Navy Air Force Coast Guard

National Guard NOAA Corps Public Health Service Corps

51st state

political status of Puerto Rico District of Columbia statehood movement

Elections

Electoral College

Foreign relations

Foreign policy

Hawaiian sovereignty movement Ideologies

anti-Americanism exceptionalism nationalism

Local government Parties

Democratic Republican Third parties

Red states and blue states

Purple America

Scandals State government

governor state legislature state court

Uncle Sam

Economy

By sector

Agriculture Banking Communications Energy Insurance Manufacturing Mining Tourism Trade Transportation

Companies

by state

Currency Exports Federal budget Federal Reserve System Financial position Labor unions Public debt Social welfare programs Taxation Unemployment Wall Street

Society

Culture

Americana Architecture Cinema Cuisine Dance Demography Education Family structure Fashion Flag Folklore Languages

American English Indigenous languages ASL

Black American Sign Language

HSL Plains Sign Talk Arabic Chinese French German Italian Russian Spanish

Literature Media

Journalism Internet Newspapers Radio Television

Music Names People Philosophy Public holidays Religion Sexuality Sports Theater Visual art

Social class

Affluence American Dream Educational attainment Homelessness Home-ownership Household income Income inequality Middle class Personal income Poverty Professional and working class conflict Standard of living Wealth

Issues

Ages of consent Capital punishment Crime

incarceration

Criticism of government Discrimination

affirmative action antisemitism intersex rights islamophobia LGBT rights racism same-sex marriage

Drug policy Energy policy Environmental movement Gun politics Health care

abortion health insurance hunger obesity smoking

Human rights Immigration

illegal

International rankings National security

Mass surveillance Terrorism

Separation of church and state

Outline Index

Book Category Portal

Authority control

WorldCat Identities VIAF: 246536312 GND: 4079808-2 BNF:

.