Appalachian Mountains

The Appalachian Mountains[a], 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 Period. They once reached elevations similar to those of the Alps and the Rocky Mountains before experiencing natural erosion.[4][5] 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 (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.[6][7] A common variant definition does not include the Adirondack Mountains, which geologically belong to the Grenville Orogeny and have a different geological history from the rest of the Appalachians.[8][9][10]

Appalachian Mountains
Appalachians
MonNatForest
August 2007 view from the slopes of Back Allegheny Mountain, looking east; visible are Allegheny Mountain (in the Monongahela National Forest of West Virginia, middle distance), and Shenandoah Mountain (in the George Washington National Forest of Virginia, far distance)
Highest point
PeakMount Mitchell
Elevation6,684 ft (2,037 m)
Dimensions
Length1,500 mi (2,400 km)
Geography
Greatvalley-map
CountriesUnited States, France (St. Pierre and Miquelon) and Canada
State/ProvinceNewfoundland and Labrador,[1][2] Saint Pierre and Miquelon, Québec, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, Virginia, West Virginia, Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Alabama
Range coordinates40°N 78°W / 40°N 78°WCoordinates: 40°N 78°W / 40°N 78°W
Geology
OrogenyTaconic, Acadian, Alleghanian
Age of rockOrdovicianPermian

Overview

The mountain range is mostly in the 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 in the United States. 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 in North Carolina at 6,684 feet (2,037 m), which is the highest point in the 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 in Arkansas and Oklahoma were originally part of the Appalachians as well but became disconnected through geologic history.

Origin of the name

Gutierrez-1562-detail-app1
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 in 1528, the members of the Narváez expedition, including Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca, found a Native American village near present-day Tallahassee, Florida whose name they transcribed as Apalchen or Apalachen [a.paˈla.tʃɛn]. The name was soon altered by the Spanish to 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 territory on June 15, 1528, and applied the name. Now spelled "Appalachian," it is the fourth-oldest surviving European place-name in the US.[11]

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.[12]

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 proposed renaming the United States either Appalachia or Alleghania.[13]

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".[14] 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".[15]

Geography

Regions

The whole system may be divided into three great sections:[16]

The Adirondack Mountains in New York are sometimes considered part of the Appalachian chain but, geologically speaking, are a southern extension of the Laurentian Mountains of Canada.[8][9][10]

WV plateau
Shaded relief map of the Cumberland Plateau and Ridge-and-Valley Appalachians on the VirginiaWest 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 of southeastern New York, the Poconos in Pennsylvania, and the Allegheny Plateau of southwestern New York, western Pennsylvania, eastern Ohio and northern West Virginia. This same plateau is known as the 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 and West Virginia, and while the ridges are not high, the terrain is extremely rugged. In 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 and the Midwest region of the country. The Eastern Continental Divide follows the Appalachian Mountains from Pennsylvania to Georgia.

The Appalachian Trail is a 2,175-mile (3,500 km) hiking trail that runs all the way from Mount Katahdin in Maine to Springer Mountain in Georgia, passing over or past a large part of the Appalachian system. The International Appalachian Trail is an extension of this hiking trail into the Canadian portion of the Appalachian range in New Brunswick and Quebec.

Chief summits

The Appalachian belt includes, with the ranges enumerated above, the plateaus sloping southward to the 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.[16]

Appalachian fault
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 vary from 1,000 to 2,700 ft (300 to 800 m). In Maine several peaks exceed 4,000 ft (1,200 m), including 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 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).[16]

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 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).[16] In West Virginia, more than 150 peaks rise above 4,000 ft (1,200 m), including 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). Cheat Mountain(Snowshoe 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 above Gauley-27527
Cliffs overlooking the New River near Gauley Bridge, West Virginia

The Blue Ridge Mountains, rising in southern Pennsylvania and there known as South Mountain, attain elevations of about 2,000 ft (600 m) in that state. South Mountain achieves its highest point just below the Mason-Dixon line in Maryland at Quirauk Mountain 2,145 ft (654 m) and then diminishes in height southward to the Potomac River. Once in Virginia the Blue Ridge again reaches 2,000 ft (600 m) and higher. In the 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 4,225 ft (1,288 m) and 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 5,520 ft (1,680 m) and 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 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 5,964 ft (1,818 m) near the Tennessee-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 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 6,285 ft (1,916 m) in the Unakas, Big Bald 5,516 ft (1,681 m) and Max Patch 4,616 ft (1,407 m) in the Bald Mountains, 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 4,224 ft (1,287 m) near the Tennessee-Georgia-North Carolina border. Prominent summits in the cross ridges include 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

Eastern North American Paleogeograpy Middle Devonian
Paleogeographic reconstruction showing the Appalachian Basin area during the Middle Devonian period[17]

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 in spreading gorges (water gaps), escape by way of the Cumberland River and the Tennessee River rivers to the 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.[16]

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.[16] However, the valley through which the 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

Appalachian map
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 million years ago, marks the first of several mountain-building plate collisions that culminated in the construction of the supercontinent Pangaea with the Appalachians near the center. Because 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 Era opening of the Iapetus Ocean, from the North America/Europe collision (See Caledonian orogeny).

During the middle Ordovician Period (about 496–440 million years ago), 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 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 and Africa (see Alleghanian orogeny).[18]

By the end of the Mesozoic Era, the Appalachian Mountains had been eroded to an almost flat plain.[18] It was not until the region was uplifted during the Cenozoic Era that the distinctive topography of the present formed.[19] 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

The 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 Region of northeastern Pennsylvania. The bituminous coal fields of western Pennsylvania, western Maryland, southeastern Ohio, eastern Kentucky, southwestern Virginia, and West Virginia contain the sedimentary form of coal.[20] 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 region.[21]

The 1859 discovery of commercial quantities of petroleum in the Appalachian Mountains of western Pennsylvania started the modern United States petroleum industry.[22] Recent discoveries of commercial natural gas deposits in the Marcellus Shale formation and Utica Shale formations have once again focused oil industry attention on the Appalachian Basin.

Some plateaus of the Appalachian Mountains contain metallic minerals such as iron and zinc.[23]

Ecology

Flora

Mount Mitchell-27527
View from Mount Mitchell. At 6,684 ft (2,037 m), Mount Mitchell in 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 (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 and southeastern Canada. It also grows southward along the Appalachian crest to the highest elevations of the southern Appalachians, as in 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 (Abies fraseri). 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 rarely occurs below 5,500 ft (1,700 m), and becomes the dominant tree type at 6,200 ft (1,900 m).[24] 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 and 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 and West 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.[25]

Eastern or 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 (Tsuga caroliniana). Like 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 pine (Pinus virginiana), pitch pine (Pinus rigida), Table Mountain pine (Pinus pungens) and shortleaf pine (Pinus echinata). 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 is also at home in acidic, boggy soil, and Table Mountain pine may occasionally be found in this habitat as well. 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.

Craggy Gardens-27527
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 (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 (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 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 (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 (Castanea dentata). The 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.

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 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-fog-1
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 are boreal ecosystems, which occur in many places in the Appalachians, particularly the Allegheny and Blue Ridge subranges.[26][27] Though popularly called bogs, many of them are technically fens.[28]

Fauna

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.

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 alces), 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 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 (Lynx 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.

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.[29]

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

Notes

  1. ^ Appalachian is pronounced variably as /ˌæpəˈleɪʃən/ (listen), /-ˈleɪtʃ-/, /-ˈlæʃ-/, /-ˈlætʃ-/, /-iən/.[3]

References

  1. ^ "International Appalachian Trail- Newfoundland". Iatnl.ca. Retrieved November 6, 2010.
  2. ^ 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 website
  3. ^ Jones, Daniel (2011). Roach, Peter; Setter, Jane; Esling, John (eds.). Cambridge English Pronouncing Dictionary (18th ed.). Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-15255-6.
  4. ^ "The Mountains That Froze the World". AAAS. Retrieved April 4, 2012.
  5. ^ "Geology of the Great Smoky Mountains". usgs. Archived from the original on January 17, 2013. Retrieved April 4, 2012.
  6. ^ "Physiographic divisions of the conterminous U. S." U.S. Geological Survey. Archived from the original on December 5, 2007. Retrieved December 6, 2007.
  7. ^ "The Atlas of Canada—Physiographic Regions". Archived from the original on December 12, 2007. Retrieved December 7, 2007.
  8. ^ a b "Geomorphology From Space — Appalachian Mountains". NASA. Archived from the original on December 6, 2007. Retrieved December 27, 2007.
  9. ^ a b "Adirondack Mountains". Peakbagger.com. Retrieved December 27, 2007.
  10. ^ a b Weidensaul, Scott (1994). Mountains of the Heart: A Natural History of the Appalachians. Fulcrum Publishing. pp. ix. ISBN 978-1-55591-139-3.
  11. ^ 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.
  12. ^ Walls, David (1978), "On the Naming of Appalachia" In An Appalachian Symposium, pp. 56-76.
  13. ^ Stewart, George R. (1967). Names on the Land. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company.
  14. ^ David Walls, "Appalachia". The Encyclopedia of Appalachia (Knoxville, Tenn.: University of Tennessee Press, 2006), 1006–1007.
  15. ^ Define "Appalachian". Random House Dictionary, online at Dictionary.com. Retrieved May 15, 2011.
  16. ^ a b c d e f  One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainSpencer, Arthur Coe (1911). "Appalachian Mountains" . In Chisholm, Hugh (ed.). Encyclopædia Britannica. 2 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. pp. 207–208.
  17. ^ Blakey, Ron. "Paleogeography and Geologic Evolution of North America". Global Plate Tectonics and Paleogeography. Northern Arizona University. Archived from the original on June 21, 2008. Retrieved July 4, 2008.
  18. ^ a b "Geologic Provinces of the United States: Appalachian Highlands Province". USGS. Retrieved July 19, 2010.
  19. ^ Poag, C. Wylie; Sevon, William D. (September 1989). "A record of Appalachian denudation in postrift 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.
  20. ^ Ruppert, Leslie F. "Executive Summary—Coal Resource Assessment of Selected Coal Beds and Zones in the Northern and Central Appalachian Basin Coal Regions" (PDF). USGS. Archived (PDF) from the original on July 15, 2010. Retrieved July 19, 2010.
  21. ^ 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. (January 8, 2010). "Mountaintop Mining Consequences". Science. 327 (5962): 148–149. doi:10.1126/science.1180543. ISSN 1095-9203. PMID 20056876.
  22. ^ Ryder, R.T. "Appalachian Basin Province (067)" (PDF). USGS. Retrieved July 19, 2010.
  23. ^ Mineral Resources of the Appalachian Region. USGS. 1968. Professional Paper 580.
  24. ^ Rose Houk, Great Smoky Mountains National Park: A Natural History Guide (Boston: Houghton-Mifflin, 1993), pp. 50-62.
  25. ^ 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.
  26. ^ "Info" (PDF). www.fws.gov.
  27. ^ "Home - Mountain Bogs - U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service". www.fws.gov.
  28. ^ expeditionspatrick. "Southern Appalachian Cranberry Bog" – via YouTube.
  29. ^ Page, Lawrence M. and Brooks M. Burr 1991, A Field Guide to Freshwater Fishes, North America, North of Mexico, Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston

Sources

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

Further reading

  • 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 Ecology (2nd edition). 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 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

External links

Allegheny Plateau

The Allegheny Plateau , in the United States, is a large dissected plateau area in western and central New York, northern and western Pennsylvania, northern and western West Virginia, and eastern Ohio. It is divided into the unglaciated Allegheny Plateau and the glaciated Allegheny Plateau.

The plateau extends southward into western West Virginia, eastern Kentucky and Tennessee where it is instead called the Cumberland Plateau.

The plateau terminates in the east at the Allegheny Mountains, which are the highest ridges just west of the Allegheny Front. The Front extends from central Pennsylvania through Maryland and into eastern West Virginia.

The plateau is bordered on the west by glacial till plains in the north, generally north of the Ohio River, and the Bluegrass region in the south, generally south of the Ohio River.

Elevations vary greatly. In the glaciated Allegheny Plateau, relief may only reach one hundred feet or less. In the unglaciated Allegheny Plateau in southeastern Ohio and westernmost West Virginia, relief is typically in the range of two hundred to four hundred feet. Absolute highest elevations in this area are often in the range of 900 to 1,500 feet (270 to 460 m). By the Allegheny Front, however, elevations may reach well over 4,000 feet (1,200 m), with relief of up to 2,000 feet (610 m).

Betula lenta

Betula lenta (sweet birch, also known as black birch, cherry birch, mahogany birch, or spice birch) is a species of birch native to eastern North America, from southern Maine west to southernmost Ontario, and south in the Appalachian Mountains to northern Georgia.

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, and extends 550 miles southwest from southern Pennsylvania through Maryland, West Virginia, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee 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 when seen from a distance. 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, and 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 also contains the Blue Ridge Parkway, a 469-mile (755 km) long scenic highway that connects the two parks and is located along the ridge crest-lines with the Appalachian Trail.

Central Pangean Mountains

The Central Pangean Mountains were an extensive northeast-southwest trending mountain range in the central portion of the supercontinent Pangaea during the Triassic period. They were formed as a result of collision between the minor supercontinents Laurussia and Gondwana during the formation of Pangaea. Remnants of this massive mountain range include the Appalachian Mountains of North America, the Little Atlas of Morocco, Africa and much of the Scottish Highlands including Ben Nevis.

A number of mountain building periods were involved in the formation of the Central Pangean Mountains, including the Acadian, Caledonian, Alleghenian and Mauritanide orogenies.

Cumberland Mountains

The Cumberland Mountains are a mountain range in the southeastern section of the Appalachian Mountains. They are located in western Virginia, eastern edges of Kentucky, and eastern middle Tennessee, including the Crab Orchard Mountains. Their highest peak, with an elevation of 4,223 feet (1,287 m) above mean sea level, is High Knob, which is located near Norton, Virginia.

According to the USGS, the Cumberland Mountain range is 131 miles (211 km) long and 20 miles (32 km) wide, bounded by the Russell Fork on the northeast, the Pound River and Powell River on the southeast, Cove Creek on the southwest, and Tackett Creek, the Cumberland River, Poor Fork Cumberland River, and Elkhorn Creek on the northwest. The crest of the range forms the Kentucky and Virginia boundary from the Tennessee border to the Russell Fork River.Variant names of the Cumberland Mountains include Cumberland Mountain, Cumberland Range, Ouasioto Mountains, Ouasiota Mountains, Laurel Mountain, and Pine Mountain. They are named for Prince William, Duke of Cumberland.The Cumberland Mountains range includes Pine Mountain, Cumberland Mountain, Log Mountain, Little Black Mountain and Black (Big Black) Mountain, as well as others.

Cumberland Plateau

The Cumberland Plateau is the southern part of the Appalachian Plateau in the Appalachian Mountains of the United States. It includes much of eastern Kentucky and Tennessee, and portions of northern Alabama and northwest Georgia. The terms "Allegheny Plateau" and the "Cumberland Plateau" both refer to the dissected plateau lands lying west of the main Appalachian Mountains. The terms stem from historical usage rather than geological difference, so there is no strict dividing line between the two. Two major rivers share the names of the plateaus, with the Allegheny River rising in the Allegheny Plateau and the Cumberland River rising in the Cumberland Plateau in Harlan County, Kentucky.

Green Mountains

The Green Mountains are a mountain range in the U.S. state of Vermont. The range runs primarily south to north and extends approximately 250 miles (400 km) from the border with Massachusetts to the border with Quebec, Canada. The part of the same range that is in Massachusetts and Connecticut is known as The Berkshires or the Berkshire Hills (with the Connecticut portion, mostly in Litchfield County, locally called the Northwest Hills or Litchfield Hills) and the Quebec portion is called the Sutton Mountains, or Monts Sutton in French.All mountains in Vermont are often referred to as the "Green Mountains". However, other ranges within Vermont, including the Taconics—in southwestern Vermont's extremity—and the Northeastern Highlands, are not geologically part of the Green Mountains.

Iron Mountains

The Iron Mountains are a subrange of the Blue Ridge Mountains. These mountains are located around the common meeting point of Tennessee, Virginia, and North Carolina.

A portion of the Appalachian Trail runs the crest of the Iron Mountains above Watauga Lake and the Watauga River near Elizabethton, Tennessee, and then runs northeastly by Shady Valley, Tennessee, finally ascending Holston Mountain and into Virginia. In addition, the historic Virginia Creeper Trail traverses the Iron Mountains between Damascus and Whitetop, Virginia.

Liriodendron tulipifera

Liriodendron tulipifera—known as the tulip tree, American tulip tree, tulipwood, tuliptree, tulip poplar, whitewood, fiddletree, and yellow-poplar—is the North American representative of the two-species genus Liriodendron (the other member is Liriodendron chinense), and the tallest eastern hardwood. It is native to eastern North America from Southern Ontario and Illinois eastward to southeastern Massachusetts and Rhode Island, and south to central Florida and Louisiana. It can grow to more than 50 m (160 ft) in virgin cove forests of the Appalachian Mountains, often with no limbs until it reaches 25–30 m (80–100 ft) in height, making it a very valuable timber tree. It is fast-growing, without the common problems of weak wood strength and short lifespan often seen in fast-growing species. April marks the start of the flowering period in the Southern United States (except as noted below); trees at the northern limit of cultivation begin to flower in June. The flowers are pale green or yellow (rarely white), with an orange band on the tepals; they yield large quantities of nectar. The tulip tree is the state tree of Indiana, Kentucky, and Tennessee.

List of mountains of New York (state)

There are three major mountain ranges in New York: the Adirondack Mountains, the Catskill Mountains, and part of the Appalachian Mountains.

Longfellow Mountains

The Longfellow Mountains are a subrange of the Appalachian Mountains System, located within the North Maine Woods region of northwestern Maine. They extend across the state from northern New Hampshire northeastward to the Canadian provinces of New Brunswick and Quebec.In 1959, the Maine Legislature voted to give the various mountains and ranges in northwest Maine the collective name of the Longfellow Mountains, in honor of the Maine-born poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807–1882).

This and most of Maine's mountain ranges and mountain peaks are part of the Appalachian Mountains System.

Notre Dame Mountains

The Notre Dame Mountains are a portion of the Appalachian Mountains, extending from the Gaspé Peninsula of Quebec to the Green Mountains of Vermont.The range runs from northeast to southwest, forming the southern edge of the St. Lawrence River valley, and following the Canada–United States border between Quebec and Maine. The mountainous New Brunswick "panhandle" is located in the Notre Dame range as well as the upper reaches of the Connecticut River valley in New Hampshire.

As the mountains are geologically old, they have eroded to an average height of around 600 m (2,000 ft).

Pine Mountain (Appalachian Mountains)

Pine Mountain is a ridge in the Appalachian Mountains running through Kentucky, Virginia and Tennessee. It extends about 125 miles from near Jellico, Tennessee, to a location near Elkhorn City, Kentucky. Birch Knob, the highest point, is 3,273 feet above sea level and is located on the Kentucky-Virginia border. It has been a barrier to transportation as the Cumberland River at Pineville, Kentucky is one of only two streams passing through the entire ridge. The other is Hickory Creek near Jellico, TN.

Several parks are located along the ridge, including Pine Mountain State Resort Park and Kingdom Come State Park, Breaks Interstate Park, Kiwanis Raven Rock Park, Kentenia State Forest, Pine Mountain State Scenic Trail and the Little Shepherd Trail.

Wildlife is abundant on Pine Mountain. The land is claimed to be the "Black Bear Capital of Kentucky." Black bears, elk, rattlesnakes, and deer are found on Pine Mountain.

Ridge-and-Valley Appalachians

The Ridge-and-Valley Appalachians, also called the Ridge and Valley Province or the Valley and Ridge Appalachians, are a physiographic province of the larger Appalachian division and are also a belt within the Appalachian Mountains extending from southeastern New York through northwestern New Jersey, westward into Pennsylvania and southward into Maryland, West Virginia, Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia and Alabama. They form a broad arc between the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Appalachian Plateau physiographic province (the Allegheny and Cumberland Plateaus). They are characterized by long, even ridges, with long, continuous valleys in between.

The ridge and valley system presents an important obstacle to east–west land travel even 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; crossing was only possible nearer its extremes except for a few rough passages opened mid-range during the colonial era such as Cumberland Gap, Braddock's Road and Forbes Road, later improved into America's first National Roads (respectively Wilderness Road, Cumberland Road, Lincoln Highway or designated U.S. 40 and U.S. 30 in later years).

Shawangunk Ridge

The Shawangunk Ridge , also known as the Shawangunk Mountains or The Gunks, is a ridge of bedrock in Ulster County, Sullivan County and Orange County in the state of New York, extending from the northernmost point of New Jersey to the Catskill Mountains. Shawangunk Ridge is the continuation of the long, easternmost ridge of the Appalachian Mountains; the ridge is known as Kittatinny Mountain in New Jersey, and as Blue Mountain as it continues through Pennsylvania. This ridge constitutes the western border of the Great Appalachian Valley.

The ridgetop, which widens considerably at its northern end, has many public and private protected areas and is not heavily populated. Its only settlement of consequence is unincorporated Cragsmoor. In the past, the ridge was chiefly noted for mining and logging and a boom-era of huckleberry picking. Fires were regularly set to burn away the undergrowth and stimulate new growth of huckleberry bushes.

Today the ridge has become known for its outdoor recreation, most notably as one of the major rock climbing areas of North America. Also known for its biodiversity and scenic character, the ridge has been designated by The Nature Conservancy as a significant area for its conservation programs.

The Berkshires

The Berkshires (locally ) are a highland geologic region located in the western parts of Massachusetts and Connecticut. The term "Berkshires" is normally used by locals in reference to the portion of the Vermont-based Green Mountains that extend south into western Massachusetts; the portion extending further south into northwestern Connecticut is locally referred to as either the Northwest Hills or Litchfield Hills.Also referred to as the Berkshire Hills, Berkshire Mountains, and Berkshire Plateau, the region enjoys a vibrant tourism industry based on music, arts, and recreation. Geologically, the mountains are a range of the Appalachian Mountains.

The Berkshires were named among the 200 Last Great Places by The Nature Conservancy.

Tuscarora Mountain

Tuscarora Mountain is a mountain ridge of the Appalachian Mountains in the Ridge and Valley province in central Pennsylvania. It reaches its highest point on Big Mountain (Pennsylvania) at 2,458 feet (749 m) above sea level. The mountain is named after the Tuscarora people.The mountain runs from northeast to southwest, extending from the Juniata River at Millerstown in the north to the end of Cove Mountain at Cowans Gap in the south. Part of it forms the border between Fulton and Franklin counties.

Much of Pennsylvania State Game Lands 124 lies on Tuscarora Mountain.Just north of Cowans Gap, the Pennsylvania Turnpike traverses the ridge through the Tuscarora Mountain Tunnel.

Geologically, the mountain is held up by the Tuscarora Formation.

White Mountains (New Hampshire)

The White Mountains are a mountain range covering about a quarter of the state of New Hampshire and a small portion of western Maine in the United States. They are part of the northern Appalachian Mountains and the most rugged mountains in New England. The range is heavily visited due to its proximity to Boston and, to a lesser extent, New York City and Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

Most of the area is public land, including the White Mountain National Forest and a number of state parks. Its most famous mountain is 6,288-foot (1,917 m) Mount Washington, which is the highest peak in the Northeastern U.S. and for 76 years held the record for fastest surface wind gust in the world (231 miles per hour (372 km/h) in 1934). Mount Washington is part of a line of summits, the Presidential Range, that are named after U.S. presidents and other prominent Americans.

The White Mountains also include the Franconia Range, Sandwich Range, Carter-Moriah Range and Kinsman Range in New Hampshire, and the Mahoosuc Range straddling the border between it and Maine. In all, there are 48 peaks within New Hampshire as well as one (Old Speck Mountain) in Maine over 4,000 feet (1,200 m), known as the four-thousand footers.

The Whites are known for a system of alpine huts for hikers operated by the Appalachian Mountain Club. The Appalachian Trail crosses the area from southwest to northeast.

Wildlife of North Carolina

This article seeks to serve as a field-guide, central repository, and listing for the flora and fauna of North Carolina and surrounding territories.

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