Cumberland Plateau

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Cumberland Plateau


Cumberland Mountains,

southwestern division of the Appalachian Mt. system, extending northeast to southwest through parts of West Virginia, Virginia, Kentucky, and Tennessee into N Alabama. Black Mt., Ky., is the highest point (4,145 ft/1,263 m). On the east the plateau rises sharply from the Great Valley of E Tennessee; on the west the slope is rough and broken. The plateau is the source of the Cumberland River and several tributaries of the Tennessee. The surrounding region, which is sparsely populated, yields various minerals, such as coal, limestone, and sandstones. The region is also laden with trees, and the forests make for an important resource. There are some agricultural subsistence settlements in the area. Cumberland Gap provides a natural passage through the Cumberland Mts., a ridge of the plateau.

Cumberland Plateau


plateau in southeastern United States, the southwestern foothills of the Appalachians. Elevations range from 1,200 m in the east to 500 m in the west. The plateau is composed of layers of sandstone and limestone, gently sloping to the west. The eastern edge, washed by the Tennessee and Clinch rivers, forms a steep precipice above the Great Appalachian Valley, at 300 m relative elevation. The Cumberland Plateau is cut by the deep valleys of the rivers of the Cumberland and Tennessee systems; karst is widespread. Deciduous forests (mostly cleared) grow on the plateau. Coal is mined (the Appalachian Coal Basin).

References in periodicals archive ?
Plethodon kentucki Mittleman: a valid species of Cumberland Plateau woodland salamander.
The cosmological divisions of the universe were mapped onto the physical landscape using the relief of the Cumberland Plateau as a topographic canvas," said Simek.
However, the outstanding ecological value of these forested areas, including the Cumberland Plateau, are irreplaceably harmed and endangered by practices like industrial logging by the paper industry.
The common raven occurred throughout Kentucky during early European settlement, but it was most notably abundant in the mixed-mesophytic forests of the southeastern Cumberland Mountains and Cliff Section of the Cumberland Plateau (Mengel 1965; Palmer-Ball 1996).
During the past 20 years, the native oak-hickory forests of the Cumberland Plateau have been turned into loblolly plantations at an alarming rate," Camuto says.
The state contains six physiographic provinces: Upper Coastal Plain, Lower Coastal Plain, Piedmont, Blue Ridge, Ridge and Valley, and Cumberland Plateau (Figure 1; see 3).
This 18,700-acre park on the southern Cumberland Plateau has the highest waterfall east of the Rockies, majestic canyons, and clear streams.
The 18,700-acre park and natural area lies some 135 miles southeast of Nashville on the Cumberland Plateau and annually draws about a million visitors who hike, camp, fish, golf and enjoy some of the Southeast's most spectacular scenery.
The Appalachian fauna is the most diverse of the three Nesticus faunas, with at least 30 morphological species distributed primarily across the Cumberland Plateau, Appalachian Valley and Ridge, and Blue Ridge geologic provinces [ILLUSTRATION FOR FIGURE 1-3 OMITTED].

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