Blue Ridge Mountains
The Blue Ridge Mountains are a physiographic province of the larger Appalachian Mountains range. The mountain range is located in the eastern United States, extends 550 miles southwest from southern Pennsylvania through Maryland, West Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia; this province consists of northern and southern physiographic regions, which divide near the Roanoke River gap. To the west of the Blue Ridge, between it and the bulk of the Appalachians, lies the Great Appalachian Valley, bordered on the west by the Ridge and Valley province of the Appalachian range; the Blue Ridge Mountains are noted for having a bluish color. Trees put the "blue" in Blue Ridge, from the isoprene released into the atmosphere, thereby contributing to the characteristic haze on the mountains and their distinctive color. Within the Blue Ridge province are two major national parks – the Shenandoah National Park in the northern section, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in the southern section – and eight national forests including George Washington and Jefferson National Forests, Cherokee National Forest, Pisgah National Forest, Nantahala National Forest and Chattahoochee National Forest.
The Blue Ridge contains the Blue Ridge Parkway, a 469-mile long scenic highway that connects the two parks and is located along the ridge crest-lines with the Appalachian Trail. Although the term "Blue Ridge" is sometimes applied to the eastern edge or front range of the Appalachian Mountains, the geological definition of the Blue Ridge province extends westward to the Ridge and Valley area, encompassing the Great Smoky Mountains, the Great Balsams, the Roans, the Blacks, the Brushy Mountains and other mountain ranges; the Blue Ridge extends as far north into Pennsylvania as South Mountain. While South Mountain dwindles to mere hills between Gettysburg and Harrisburg, the band of ancient rocks that form the core of the Blue Ridge continues northeast through the New Jersey and Hudson River highlands reaching The Berkshires of Massachusetts and the Green Mountains of Vermont; the Blue Ridge contains the highest mountains in eastern North America south of Baffin Island. About 125 peaks exceed 5,000 feet in elevation.
The highest peak in the Blue Ridge is Mt. Mitchell in North Carolina at 6,684 feet. There are 39 peaks in North Tennessee higher than 6,000 feet. Southern Sixers is a term used by peak baggers for this group of mountains; the Blue Ridge Parkway runs 469 miles along crests of the Southern Appalachians and links two national parks: Shenandoah and Great Smoky Mountains. In many places along the parkway, there are metamorphic rocks with folded bands of light-and dark-colored minerals, which sometimes look like the folds and swirls in a marble cake. Most of the rocks that form the Blue Ridge Mountains are ancient granitic charnockites, metamorphosed volcanic formations, sedimentary limestone. Recent studies completed by Richard Tollo, a professor and geologist at George Washington University, provide greater insight into the petrologic and geochronologic history of the Blue Ridge basement suites. Modern studies have found that the basement geology of the Blue Ridge is made of compositionally unique gneisses and granitoids, including orthopyroxene-bearing charockites.
Analysis of zircon minerals in the granite completed by John Aleinikoff at the U. S. Geological Survey has provided more detailed emplacement ages. Many of the features found in the Blue Ridge and documented by Tollo and others have confirmed that the rocks exhibit many similar features in other North American Grenville-age terranes; the lack of a calc-alkaline affinity and zircon ages less than 1,200 Ma suggest that the Blue Ridge is distinct from the Adirondacks, Green Mountains, the New York-New Jersey Highlands. The petrologic and geochronologic data suggest that the Blue Ridge basement is a composite orogenic crust, emplaced during several episodes from a crustal magma source. Field relationships further illustrate that rocks emplaced prior to 1,078–1,064 Ma preserve deformational features; those emplaced post-1,064 Ma have a massive texture and missed the main episode of Mesoproterozoic compression. The Blue Ridge Mountains began forming during the Silurian Period over 400 million years ago.
320 Mya, North America, Europe collided, pushing up the Blue Ridge. At the time of their emergence, the Blue Ridge were among the highest mountains in the world and reached heights comparable to the much younger Alps. Today, due to weathering and erosion over hundreds of millions of years, the highest peak in the range, Mount Mitchell in North Carolina, is only 6,684 feet high – still the highest peak east of the Rockies; the English who settled colonial Virginia in the early 17th century recorded that the native Powhatan name for the Blue Ridge was Quirank. At the foot of the Blue Ridge, various tribes including the Siouan Manahoacs, the Iroquois, the Shawnee hunted and fished. A German physician-explorer, John Lederer, first reached the crest of the Blue Ridge in 1669 and again the following year. At the Treaty of Albany negotiated by Lieutenant Governor Alexander Spotswood, of Virginia with the Iroquois between 1718 and 1722, the Iroquois ceded lands they had conquered south of the Potomac River and east of the Blue Ridge to the Virginia Colony.
This treaty made the Blue Ridge the new demarcation point between the areas and tribes subject to the Six Nati
The Ridge-and-Valley Appalachians called the Ridge and Valley Province or the Valley and Ridge Appalachians, are a physiographic province of the larger Appalachian division and are a belt within the Appalachian Mountains extending from southeastern New York through northwestern New Jersey, westward into Pennsylvania and southward into Maryland, West Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee and Alabama. They form a broad arc between the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Appalachian Plateau physiographic province, they are characterized by long ridges, with long, continuous valleys in between. The ridge and valley system presents an important obstacle to east–west land travel with today's technology, it was a nearly insurmountable barrier to railroads crossing the range as well as to walking or horse-riding migrants traveling west to settle the Ohio Country, Northwest Territory and Oregon Country, before the days of motorized transportation. In the era when animal power dominated transportation there was no safe way to cross east–west in the middle of the range.
The eastern head of the Ridge and Valley region is marked by the Great Appalachian Valley, which lies just west of the Blue Ridge. The western side of the Ridge and Valley region is marked by steep escarpments such as the Allegheny Front, the Cumberland Mountains, Walden Ridge; these curious formations are the remnants of an ancient fold-and-thrust belt, west of the mountain core that formed in the Alleghenian orogeny. Here, strata have been folded westward, forced over massive thrust faults; the ridges represent the edges of the erosion-resistant strata, the valleys portray the absence of the more erodible strata. Smaller streams have developed their valleys following the lines of the more eroded strata, but a few major rivers, such as the Delaware River, the Susquehanna River, the New River, the Potomac River, are evidently older than the present mountains, having cut water gaps that are perpendicular to hard strata ridges. The evidence points to a wearing down of the entire region to a low level with little relief, so that major rivers were flowing in unconsolidated sediments that were unaffected by the underlying rock structure.
The region was uplifted enough that the rivers were able to maintain their course, cutting through the ridges as they developed. Valleys may be anticlinal valleys; these mountains are at their highest development in central Pennsylvania, a phenomenon termed the Pennsylvania climax. Geology of the Appalachians Allegheny Front Eastern Continental Divide Tennessee Valley Divide Stanley, Steven M. Earth System History. New York: W. H. Freeman and Company, 1999. ISBN 0-7167-2882-6
The Cherokee are one of the indigenous people of the Southeastern Woodlands of the United States. Prior to the 18th century, they were concentrated in what is now southwestern North Carolina, southeastern Tennessee, the tips of western South Carolina and northeastern Georgia; the Cherokee language is part of the Iroquoian language group. In the 19th century, James Mooney, an American ethnographer, recorded one oral tradition that told of the tribe having migrated south in ancient times from the Great Lakes region, where other Iroquoian-speaking peoples lived. Today there are three federally recognized Cherokee tribes: the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians in North Carolina, the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians in Oklahoma, the Cherokee Nation in Oklahoma. By the 19th century, European settlers in the United States classified the Cherokee of the Southeast as one of the "Five Civilized Tribes", because they were agrarian and lived in permanent villages and began to adopt some cultural and technological practices of the European American settlers.
The Cherokee were one of the first, if not the first, major non-European ethnic group to become U. S. citizens. Article 8 in the 1817 treaty with the Cherokee stated that Cherokees may wish to become citizens of the United States; the Cherokee Nation has more than 300,000 tribal members, making it the largest of the 567 federally recognized tribes in the United States. In addition, numerous groups claim Cherokee lineage, some of these are state-recognized. A total of more than 819,000 people are estimated to claim having Cherokee ancestry on the US census, which includes persons who are not enrolled members of any tribe. Of the three federally recognized Cherokee tribes, the Cherokee Nation and the UKB have headquarters in Tahlequah, Oklahoma; the UKB are descendants of "Old Settlers", Cherokee who migrated to Arkansas and Oklahoma about 1817 prior to Indian Removal. They are related to the Cherokee who were forcibly relocated there in the 1830s under the Indian Removal Act; the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians is on the Qualla Boundary in western North Carolina.
A Cherokee language name for Cherokee people is Aniyvwiyaʔi, translating as "Principal People". Tsalagi is the Cherokee word for Cherokee. Many theories, though none proven, abound about the origin of the name "Cherokee", it may have been derived from the Choctaw word Cha-la-kee, which means "people who live in the mountains", or Choctaw Chi-luk-ik-bi, meaning "people who live in the cave country". The earliest Spanish transliteration of the name, from 1755, is recorded as Tchalaquei. Another theory is; the Iroquois Five Nations based in New York have called the Cherokee Oyata'ge'ronoñ. The word Cherokee means “people of different speech.” Anthropologists and historians have two main theories of Cherokee origins. One is that the Cherokee, an Iroquoian-speaking people, are relative latecomers to Southern Appalachia, who may have migrated in late prehistoric times from northern areas around the Great Lakes, the traditional territory of the Haudenosaunee nations and other Iroquoian-speaking peoples.
Another theory is. Researchers in the 19th century recorded conversations with elders who recounted an oral tradition of the Cherokee people migrating south from the Great Lakes region in ancient times, they may have moved south into Muscogee Creek territory and settled at the sites of mounds built by the Mississippian culture and earlier moundbuilders. In the 19th century, European-American settlers mistakenly attributed several Mississippian culture sites in Georgia to the Cherokee, including Moundville and Etowah Mounds. However, other evidence shows that the Cherokee did not reach this part of Georgia until the late 18th century and could not have built the mounds; the Connestee people, believed to be ancestors of the Cherokee, occupied western North Carolina circa 200 to 600 CE. Pre-contact Cherokee are considered to be part of the Pisgah Phase of Southern Appalachia, which lasted from circa 1000 to 1500. Despite the consensus among most specialists in Southeast archeology and anthropology, some scholars contend that ancestors of the Cherokee people lived in western North Carolina and eastern Tennessee for a far longer period of time.
During the late Archaic and Woodland Period, Native Americans in the region began to cultivate plants such as marsh elder, pigweed and some native squash. People created new art forms such as shell gorgets, adopted new technologies, developed an elaborate cycle of religious ceremonies. During the Mississippian culture-period, local women developed a new variety of maize called eastern flint corn, it resembled modern corn and produced larger crops. The successful cultivation of corn surpluses allowed the rise of larger, more complex chiefdoms consisting of several villages and concentrated populations during this period. Corn became celebrated among numerous peoples in religious ceremonies the Green Corn Ceremony. Much of what is known about pre-18th-century Native American cultures has come from records of Spanish expeditions; the earliest ones of the mid-16th-century encountered people of the Mississippian culture, the ancestors to tribes in the Southeast such as
Tennessee's 1st congressional district
The Tennessee 1st Congressional District is the congressional district of northeast Tennessee, including all of Carter, Greene, Hancock, Johnson, Sullivan and Washington counties and parts of Jefferson County and Sevier County. It is coextensive with the Tennessee portion of the Tri-Cities region of northeast Tennessee and southwest Virginia. Cities and towns represented within the district include Blountville, Church Hill, Erwin, Johnson City, Kingsport, Mountain City, Pigeon Forge, Roan Mountain, Sneedville and Tusculum; the 1st District's seat in the U. S. House of Representatives has been held by Republicans since 1881; the district was created in 1805. The district's current Congressman, Phil Roe was first elected in 2008 after defeating one-term incumbent David Davis in the Republican primary The 1st has been a secure voting district for the Republican Party since the American Civil War, is one of only two ancestrally Republican districts in the state. Republicans have held the seat continuously since 1881 and for all but four years since 1859, while Democrats have held the congressional seat for all but eight years from when Andrew Jackson was first elected to the U.
S. House of Representatives in 1796 up to the term of Albert Galiton Watkins ending in 1859. Andrew Johnson, the seventeenth President of the United States, represented the district from 1843-1853; the 1st was one of four districts in Tennessee whose congressmen did not resign when Tennessee seceded from the Union in 1861. Thomas Amos Rogers Nelson was reelected as a Unionist to the Thirty-seventh Congress, but he was arrested by Confederate troops while en route to Washington, D. C. and taken to Richmond. Nelson was paroled and returned home to Jonesborough, where he kept a low profile for the length of his term. Like the rest of East Tennessee, slavery was not as common in this area as the rest of the state due to its mountain terrain, dominated by small farms instead of plantations; the district was the home of the first abolitionist periodicals in the nation, The Manumission Intelligencer and The Emancipator, founded in Jonesborough by Elihu Embree in 1819. Due to these factors, this area supported the Union over the Confederacy in the Civil War, identified with the Republican Party after Tennessee was readmitted to the Union in 1867, electing candidates representing the Unionist Party—a merger of Republicans and pro-Union Democrats—both before and after the war.
This allegiance has continued through good times and bad since, with Republicans dominating every level of government. While a few Democratic pockets exist in the district's urban areas, they are not enough to sway the district; the district gives its congressmen long tenures in Washington. Only eight people have represented it since 1921. Tennessee's congressional districts List of United States congressional districts Political Graveyard database of Tennessee congressmen Martis, Kenneth C.. The Historical Atlas of Political Parties in the United States Congress. New York: Macmillan Publishing Company. Martis, Kenneth C.. The Historical Atlas of United States Congressional Districts. New York: Macmillan Publishing Company. Congressional Biographical Directory of the United States 1774–present
The Watauga River is a large stream of western North Carolina and East Tennessee. It is 78.5 miles long with its headwaters on the slopes of Grandfather Mountain and Peak Mountain in Watauga County, North Carolina. The Watauga River rises from a spring near the base of Peak Mountain at Linville Gap in Avery County, North Carolina; the spring emanates from the western side of the Tennessee Valley Divide, which is, at this location, congruent with the Eastern Continental Divide. On the other side of the divides at Linville Gap are the headwaters of the Linville River in the Upper Catawba Watershed. Waters of the Linville River reach the Atlantic Ocean, whereas waters of the Watauga River reach the Gulf of Mexico; the river flows across Watauga County, North Carolina crossing the Tennessee state line at Johnson County into Carter County and ends at its confluence with the Holston River's South Fork on the Washington/Sullivan County border. After crossing into Johnson County, the Watauga River is first impounded by the Tennessee Valley Authority Watauga Dam, creating the 6,430-acre Watauga Lake.
This impoundment receives two important tributaries: the Elk River, Roan Creek. Watauga Lake is bridged by Tennessee State Route 67 over Butler Memorial Bridge just as the watercourse enters Carter County, Tennessee; the Appalachian Trail crosses the river on Watauga Dam. Nearly 3 miles below Watauga Dam, on the Horseshoe section of the Watauga River, is the TVA Wilbur Dam, which forms a much smaller but deep reservoir known as Wilbur Lake. TVA releases 130 cubic feet per second of discharged water back into the Watauga River during the summer months. Below Wilbur Dam the river flows north and west into Carter County where it forms the northern limits of Elizabethton, where the Watauga receives the Doe River. Farther downstream on the Watauga River at the boundary between Carter County and Washington County is the old TVA Watauga Steam Plant. A portion of the boundary line between Washington County and Sullivan County is formed by the Watauga River. Boone Dam is located below the slack water confluence of both South Fork Holston River and the downstream end of the Watauga River.
The distance afloat between the TVA Watauga Reservoir and Boone Lake is 20.6 miles. The true origin of the name of the Watauga River is lost to antiquity. Most documents agree that the name is of Native American origin, though which nation, tribe or language it descends from, its meaning, are in question. A North Carolina State University web page says the word "Watauga" is a Native-American word meaning "the land beyond". Another source states Watauga is derived from a Cherokee word, more written Watagi. Other common spellings include Watoda and Whatoga, yet another source suggests the word "Watauga" comes from the Yuchi phrase meaning "bass many." However, local reference to the name is attributed as meaning "beautiful river" or "beautiful water". There were at least two Native American villages so named, including one at present-day Elizabethton, which became known as "Watauga Old Fields", first explored by Daniel Boone and James Robertson in 1759. Another village called Watauga was located on the Little Tennessee River near Franklin, North Carolina.
The original settlers of Nashville, set out from the Watauga River area, called the Watauga Association, during the American Revolution when they realized that the British Proclamation of 1763 forbidding settlement of its colonists west of the Blue Ridge Mountains was unenforceable. Wilbur Dam is the site of first hydroelectric dam constructed in Tennessee, going online with power production and distribution in 1912. Wilbur Dam was constructed by the former Tennessee Electric Power Company, a owned utility purchased by TVA in the late 1930s. Elizabethton acquired the moniker "City of Power" because of the early local access to hydro-generated electricity from Wilbur Dam. Whitewater rafting, canoeing, fly fishing, angling with fishing reels are all popular recreation activities pursued on the Watauga River. Rainbow trout, brown trout, striped bass are all caught in the Watauga River; the Watauga River downstream of the TVA dams draws commercial rafting outfitters from both northeast Tennessee and western North Carolina during the summer months and commercial fishing guides throughout the year.
The picturesque Class II+ Bee Cliff Rapids on the Watauga River are found downstream between Wilbur Dam and the Siam Bridge, southeast of Elizabethton, Tennessee. For commercial whitewater rafting and kayaking on the Watauga River, the most popular Carter County "put-in" is downstream of the TVA Wilbur Dam, the most popular "take-out" is 2 to 2½ hours downstream at the Blackbottom riverside portion of the city linear trail park in Elizabethton; the distance afloat for paddlers from the put-in at Wilbur Dam to the Blackbottom take-out is seven miles, with landmarks along the Watauga River providing a good estimate of time and distance traveled. The Watauga River has a section of Class IV-V whitewater popular with expert kayakers, upstream of Watauga Lake and across the state line in North Carolina; this section requires significant rainfall to bring it up to runnable levels. It features continuous steep boulder bed rapids dropping up to 150 feet per mile, several falls and ledges only runnable by expert paddlers.
The Tennessee Va
Bristol is a city in Sullivan County, United States. The population was 26,702 at the 2010 census, it is the twin city of Bristol, which lies directly across the state line between Tennessee and Virginia. The boundary between the two cities is the state line, which runs along State Street in their common downtown district. Bristol is a principal city of the Kingsport−Bristol−Bristol, TN-VA Metropolitan Statistical Area, a component of the Johnson City−Kingsport−Bristol, TN-VA Combined Statistical Area − known as the "Tri-Cities" region. Bristol is best known for being the site of some of the first commercial recordings of country music, showcasing Jimmie Rodgers and the Carter Family, a favorite venue of the mountain musician Uncle Charlie Osborne; the U. S. Congress recognized Bristol as the "Birthplace of Country Music" in 1998, the Birthplace of Country Music Museum is located in Bristol. Bristol is the birthplace of Tennessee Ernie Ford. Bristol is the site of Bristol Motor Speedway, a NASCAR short track, one of the most well-known motorsports facilities in the country.
The U. S. Congress declared Bristol to be the "Birthplace of Country Music", according to a resolution passed in 1998, recognizing its contributions to early country music recordings and influence, the Birthplace of Country Music Museum is located in Bristol. In 1927 record producer Ralph Peer of Victor Records began recording local musicians in Bristol, to attempt to capture the local sound of traditional "folk" music of the region. One of these local sounds was created by the Carter Family, which got its start on July 31, 1927, when A. P. Carter and his family journeyed from Maces Spring, Virginia, to Bristol to audition for Ralph Peer, seeking new talent for the embryonic recording industry, they received $50 for each song. That same visit by Peer to Bristol resulted in the first recordings by Jimmie Rodgers. Since 1994, the Birthplace of Country Music Alliance has promoted the city as a destination to learn about country music and the city's role in the creation of an entire music genre; the Alliance is organizing the building of a new Cultural Heritage Center to help educate the public about the history of country music in the region.
On August 1, 2014, the Birthplace of Country Music Museum opened in Bristol, Virginia to commemorate the historical significance of the Bristol Sessions. The museum features a 24,000 sq. ft. building that houses core exhibits, space for special exhibits, a performance theater, a radio station. Every year, during the third weekend in September, a music festival called the Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion takes place; the festival is held downtown, where Tennessee and Virginia meet, it celebrates Bristol's heritage as the Birthplace of Country Music. Bristol is located in the northeast corner of Tennessee, at 36°34′9″N 82°11′51″W. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 29.5 square miles, of which 29.4 square miles is land and 0.1 square miles is water. Like much of the rest of the state, Bristol has a humid subtropical climate, although with cooler temperatures in the summer, due to elevation; the normal monthly mean temperature ranges from 35.2 °F in January to 74.6 °F in July, while, on average, there are 8.8 days where the temperature stays at or below freezing and 17 days with a high at or above 90 °F per year.
The all-time record low is −21 °F, set on January 21, 1985, while the all-time record high is 103 °F, set on June 30, 2012. Precipitation is low compared to much of East Tennessee, averaging 41.0 inches annually, reaches a low during autumn. The rainiest calendar day on record is October 1964 when 3.65 inches of rain fell. Bristol's normal winter snowfall stands at 13.3 inches more than what most of Tennessee receives. The most snow in one calendar day was 16.2 inches on November 21, 1952, while the most in one month is 27.9 inches during March 1960, which contributed to the winter of 1959–60, with a total of 51.0 inches, finishing as the snowiest on record. As of the census of 2000, there were 24,821 people, 10,648 households, 6,825 families residing in the city; the population density in 2000 was 846 people per square mile. There were 11,511 housing units at an average density of 392.2 per square mile. The racial makeup of the city was 95.15% White, 2.97% African American, 0.31% Native American, 0.64% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 0.23% from other races, 0.70% from two or more races.
Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.68% of the population. There were 10,648 households out of which 26.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 49.0% were married couples living together, 11.4% had a female householder with no husband present, 35.9% were non-families. Nearly 32% of all households were made up of individuals, 14.1% had someone living alone, 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.26, the average family size was 2.84. In the city, the population was spread out, with 21.1% under the age of 18, 9.1% from 18 to 24, 27.2% from 25 to 44, 24.7% from 45 to 64, 17.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females, there were 90.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 87.3 males. The median income for a household in the city was $30,03
Virginia the Commonwealth of Virginia, is a state in the Southeastern and Mid-Atlantic regions of the United States located between the Atlantic Coast and the Appalachian Mountains. Virginia is nicknamed the "Old Dominion" due to its status as the first English colonial possession established in mainland North America and "Mother of Presidents" because eight U. S. presidents were born there, more than any other state. The geography and climate of the Commonwealth are shaped by the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Chesapeake Bay, which provide habitat for much of its flora and fauna; the capital of the Commonwealth is Richmond. The Commonwealth's estimated population as of 2018 is over 8.5 million. The area's history begins with several indigenous groups, including the Powhatan. In 1607 the London Company established the Colony of Virginia as the first permanent New World English colony. Slave labor and the land acquired from displaced Native American tribes each played a significant role in the colony's early politics and plantation economy.
Virginia was one of the 13 Colonies in the American Revolution. In the American Civil War, Virginia's Secession Convention resolved to join the Confederacy, Virginia's First Wheeling Convention resolved to remain in the Union. Although the Commonwealth was under one-party rule for nearly a century following Reconstruction, both major national parties are competitive in modern Virginia; the Virginia General Assembly is the oldest continuous law-making body in the New World. The state government was ranked most effective by the Pew Center on the States in both 2005 and 2008, it is unique in how it treats cities and counties manages local roads, prohibits its governors from serving consecutive terms. Virginia's economy has many sectors: agriculture in the Shenandoah Valley. S. Department of Defense and Central Intelligence Agency. Virginia has a total area of 42,774.2 square miles, including 3,180.13 square miles of water, making it the 35th-largest state by area. Virginia is bordered by Maryland and Washington, D.
C. to the north and east. Virginia's boundary with Maryland and Washington, D. C. extends to the low-water mark of the south shore of the Potomac River. The southern border is defined as the 36° 30′ parallel north, though surveyor error led to deviations of as much as three arcminutes; the border with Tennessee was not settled until 1893, when their dispute was brought to the U. S. Supreme Court; the Chesapeake Bay separates the contiguous portion of the Commonwealth from the two-county peninsula of Virginia's Eastern Shore. The bay was formed from the drowned river valleys of the James River. Many of Virginia's rivers flow into the Chesapeake Bay, including the Potomac, Rappahannock and James, which create three peninsulas in the bay; the Tidewater is a coastal plain between the fall line. It includes major estuaries of Chesapeake Bay; the Piedmont is a series of sedimentary and igneous rock-based foothills east of the mountains which were formed in the Mesozoic era. The region, known for its heavy clay soil, includes the Southwest Mountains around Charlottesville.
The Blue Ridge Mountains are a physiographic province of the Appalachian Mountains with the highest points in the state, the tallest being Mount Rogers at 5,729 feet. The Ridge and Valley region includes the Great Appalachian Valley; the region includes Massanutten Mountain. The Cumberland Plateau and the Cumberland Mountains are in the southwest corner of Virginia, south of the Allegheny Plateau. In this region, rivers flow northwest, into the Ohio River basin; the Virginia Seismic Zone has not had a history of regular earthquake activity. Earthquakes are above 4.5 in magnitude, because Virginia is located away from the edges of the North American Plate. The largest earthquake, at an estimated 5.9 magnitude, was in 1897 near Blacksburg. A 5.8 magnitude earthquake struck central Virginia on August 2011, near Mineral. The earthquake was felt as far away as Toronto and Florida. 35 million years ago, a bolide impacted. The resulting Chesapeake Bay impact crater may explain what earthquakes and subsidence the region does experience.
Coal mining takes place in the three mountainous regions at 45 distinct coal beds near Mesozoic basins. Over 64 million tons of other non-fuel resources, such as slate, sand, or gravel, were mined in Virginia in 2018; the state's carbonate rock is filled with more than 4,000 caves, ten of which are open for tourism, including the popular Luray Caverns and Skyline Caverns. The climate of Virginia is humid subtropical and becomes warmer and more humid farther south and east. Seasonal extremes vary from average lows of 26 °F in January to average highs of 86 °F in July; the Atlantic Ocean has a strong effect on southeastern coastal areas of the state. Influenced by the Gulf Stream, coastal weather is subject to hurricanes, most pronouncedly near the mouth of Chesapeake Bay. In spite of its position adjacent to the Atlantic Ocean the coastal areas have a significant continental influence with quite large temperature differences between summ