Sample Research on Paper The Geology of Virginia

Virginia is a state located in the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States of America. The state has an approximated area of 42,774.2 square miles where 3180.13 square miles is covered by water. A large percentage of the state is covered by deposits of volcanic activities. Most of the rocks that are found in the state are volcanic and sedimentary.  The State was a site for volcanic activities many decades ago as it is evidenced by widespread volcanic rocks. Sedimentary rocks are also common in the west and south borders of the state. The state is boarded by physical features and other states, for instance, Maryland to the north east, Atlantic Ocean to the east and North Virginia to the South west. The northwest boundary of the state extends to the lower-water mark of river Potomac.

The Geology and Terrain

The State has had a history of events that have led to the formation of diversity of rocks, folding, faulting and rearrangement of rocks in a pattern that seems complex in nature. In describing the nature of the geological structure of Virginia, it is clear that the Chesapeake Bay is seen to separate the portion of the state from peninsula of Virginia’s Eastern shore (“Virginia”). The valleys of river Susquehanna James   are believed to have formed the bay. Most of the rivers in this region flow into the Chesapeake Bay (Hobbs, Carl, Krantz, and Wikel 2).

The region has is classified by heavy clay soil that covers even the Southwest mountains located around Charlottesville (Hobbs, Carl, Krantz, and Wikel 6). The highest point in the State is about 5729 ft is the Appalachian Mountains, which forms the Blue Ridge Mountains that are physiographic. To the west of the mountains lies a ridge and valley region including the Great Appalachian valley with carbonate rocks comprising of the Massanutten Mountain. To the southwestern region of the Virginia State lies both the Cumberland Plateau and Mountains.

The region can also be described as a low seismic zone experiencing fewer earthquakes. There is little history on earthquakes with the first one occurring in 1897 and the most recent in 2011. The most intense earthquake in history that struck the region had a magnitude of 5.9 in August 2011 near mineral. This earthquake was felt as far as Toronto, Florida and Atlanta (Hobbs, Carl, Krantz, and Wikel 7). Records reveal that the state has experienced very few earthquakes as compared to the neighboring regions and states.

The state has plenty of Coal and other natural resources that makes it to be distinct from others states around. Some of none-fuel mineral products mined from Virginia include kyanite, sand, gravel and slate. The state recorded about 62 million tons of these products in 2012. The minerals and other natural resources that are found in the state of Virginia have contributed a lot to the economy of Virginia. There are more than 4000 caves filling the State’s carbonate rocks, including 10 tourist attraction sites. Currently there is possibility of sinking and earthquakes in the region related to the Bolide that hit the region historically 35 million years ago (Giles 32-57).

Formation of the Geology

The geological form of the region can be divided into four categories. One is the tectonic history of rocks refers to the earth movements and the structures formed i.e. rifting and mountain formation that results to the rocks. The Second is the age of rocks from the oldest to the youngest. The third one is the geological provinces resulting to the distribution of different kinds of rocks and finally the physiographic provinces that comprise of the landforms i.e. ridges, plains and plateaus (“Rocks and Ridges, np)”).

The topography of the state is believed to have transformed over decades. These changes are related to the series of continental collisions that have resulted in the mountainous nature of the landscape. Scholars believe that the Blue Ridge as well as the mountains located at the western part of the state which appear smaller than Appalachian Mountains, formed from the collision between African and American continents about 300 million years ago. The original location of the Appalachian is said to have been roughly 1-95 of the current location to the Far East of the Blue Ridge. The mountains are assumed to have reduced by 20000ft since then to date.

The tall Appalachian Mountains resulted from a dual process of collision and erosion. After the collision process, the erosion scraped the mountain and the resulting debris later settled at the foot of the mountains to form two features, the flat Appalachian plateau situated at the western part of Virginia and the coastal plain located to the east of the State. The mountains have been experiencing erosions which has totally changed the Atlantic Ocean shore as well as the gulf of the coast therefore changing the sea level.

The low Shanandoah valley that lies adjacent to the high Blue Ridge formed as a result of some ridges resting erosion and undergoing deferential erosion. The recent uplift of the region is the reason for the existence of the current ridges today, which would otherwise have been worn out. As indicated above the uplift formation is an undergoing process resulting from the tectonic forces squeezing the North American Plate to generate stress that moves the rocks up creating the uplift. However, the deep part of the Appalachian is continuously moving upwards due the enormous erosion occurring on the surface of the mountain(“Rocks and Ridges n.p).

The history of flooding can be related to the downward motion of the sea levels. Some regions of Virginia are either moving upwards or downwards as result of disappearance of the ice Laurentide ice sheet existed about 18000 years ago. The upward rebound of the earth’s crust in Pennslvania occurred due to the removal of heavy weight of ice flexing the crust around Norfolk making it to move down. This effect results in the increase in floods in the region.

The general topography of Virginia of ridge and valley landscape is linked to the historic mountain building events where chunks of silca crust and the continent collided with Virginia. The location of roads, fields and other amenities has highly been affected by the landscape.

Effect of the Geology to the Community

The existence of these landforms and the general landscape has affected the community in different forms. The landscape of Virginia has had both positive and negative effects to the inhabitants of the region. The first evidence is seen in the division of provincial boundaries. The other factor is the development of roads with meandering nature due to the rocks and mountainous nature of the region. The economy of the people has improved because of the coal mines and other non-fuel mines that occur within the region. In any region where there is mining, the economy is obviously likely to improve a great deal. The reduced cases of natural disasters specifically earthquakes have encouraged settlement in the region.


Works Cited

“Giles, Albert W. “The Geology of Little North Mountain in Northern Virginia And West Virginia”. The Journal of Geology 35.1 (1927): 32-57. Web.

Hobbs III, Carl H., David E. Krantz, and Geoffrey L. Wikel. “Coastal processes and offshore geology.” The geology of Virginia (2008): 1-44.

“Rocks and Ridges – The Geology of Virginia”. N.p., 2017. Web. 30 Mar. 2017.

Threats, Levels Pose Serious. “Climate and Health in Virginia.” (2015).