There was once a wide shallow life-filled sea that filled the bowl to the west of the Crystalline Appalachians–as the Blue Ridge geology is sometimes described. The area is now known as the Cumberland or Allegheny Plateau of the Central Appalachian Basin. Along with the Ridge and Valley Province from Pennsylvania to Alabama, the region’s bedrock consists of sedimentary strata laid down like a two-thousand foot thick layer cake. When continents collided a few hundred million years ago, it lifted the ancient Blue Ridge …

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