Appalachia

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Appalachian Mountains

Appalachian Mountains (ăpəlāˈchən, –chēən, –lăchˈ–), mountain system of E North America, extending in a broad belt c.1,600 mi (2,570 km) SW from the Gaspé Peninsula in Quebec prov., Canada, to the Gulf coastal plain in Alabama. Main sections in the system are the White Mts., Green Mts., Berkshire Hills, Catskill Mts., Allegheny Plateau, Black Mts., Great Smoky Mts., Blue Ridge, and Cumberland Plateau. To the E is the Piedmont (foothill) region. The Appalachians, much-eroded remnants of a great mass formed by folding (see mountains), consist largely of sedimentary rocks. Mt. Mitchell (6,684 ft/2,037 m) in North Carolina's Black Mts. is the highest peak.

The Great Appalachian Valley or Great Valley is a chain of lowlands extending S and W from the Hudson Valley; its main segments are the Lehigh, Lebanon, Cumberland, and Shenandoah valleys; the Valley of Virginia; and the Valley of East Tennessee. Long a major north-south travel and settlement corridor, the Great Valley is one of the most fertile areas in the E United States.

The Appalachians are rich in coal; other resources include iron, petroleum, and natural gas. The scenic ranges also abound in resorts and recreation areas, including Shenandoah and Great Smoky Mts. national parks. The Appalachian Trail winds 2,050 mi (3,299 km) along the ridges of the Appalachians between Mt. Katahdin, Maine, and Springer Mt., Georgia.

Crossed by few passes, the Appalachians were a barrier to early westward expansion and played an important role in U.S. history; major east-west routes like the Cumberland Gap and Mohawk Trail followed river valleys or mountain notches. Appalachia is a name applied to parts of the region that were long characterized by marginal economy, isolation of its people from the U.S. mainstream, and distinctive folkways.

Bibliography

See E. Porter, Appalachian Wilderness (1970); H. M. Caudill, My Land is Dying (1971); M. Brooks, The Appalachians (1986); H. D. Shapiro, Appalachia on Our Mind (1986).

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Appalachia

[¦ap·ə¦lā·chə]
(geology)
Proposed borderland along the southeastern side of North America, seaward of the Appalachian geosyncline in Paleozoic time.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

Appalachia

West Virginia coal mining region known for its abysmal poverty. [Am. Hist.: NCE, 160]
See: Poverty
Allusions—Cultural, Literary, Biblical, and Historical: A Thematic Dictionary. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

Appalachia

a highland region of the eastern US, containing the Appalachian Mountains, extending from Pennsylvania to Alabama
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005