The Appalachian Plateau

Overview of the region
The Appalachian Plateau is found on the East Coast of the United States. It’s a series of rugged and severely eroded plateaus located on the northwestern part of the Appalachian Mountains, stretching from New York to Alabama. It is divided into several sections including, Allegheny Plateau, Cumberland Plateau, Catskill, and Pocono Mountains.
Common rocks and their sources
The plateau is bound on all sides by out-facing escarpments and consists of cyclic sequences of Mississippian-to-Permian-age sandstones, shales, and coals (Sullivan, 2001). The rocks in the region are sedimentary, formed by deposits of small particles and subsequent cementation of minerals on the ocean floor. Limestones, sandstones, shales, and coals were created through this process in horizontal layers with distinct boundaries between them.
The region’s topography is broken down into flat and rugged landscapes. This is because some areas are relatively flat, while others are rugged due to stream erosion. Over the years, the plateau has been subjected to stream erosion during its formation and subsequent years, resulting in steep slopes. Due to its high altitudinal ranges of around 1,000 feet to 4,800 feet, the dissected plateau looks like a mountain range.
Groundwater and aquifers of the region
Hydrogeologic units in the area take three forms; surficial aquifer system, Pennsylvanian aquifers, and Mississippian aquifers (USGS, 1995). The surficial aquifer system consists of sand and gravel deposits, which are highly porous hence highly productive. Pennsylvanian and Mississippian aquifers, on the other hand, comprise of limestone and sandstone.
Surface waters and how the geology influences them
Uplifting caused an increase in the velocity of streams in the region to counteract changes in surface water flow. Surface water follows a random path due to the rugged landscape. The presence of coal and coal mining has also affected groundwater quality.
Distinctive formations and the processes that created them
The Appalachian plateau was formed during the Paleozoic Era. During this era, around 541 to 252 million years ago, the tectonic plate movement resulted in folding, faulting, and regional uplifts. Tectonic plate collision on the East Coast of U.S. caused a regional uplift.

Sullivan, L., & Prezzano, S. (2001). Archaeology of the Appalachian highlands. Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press.
U.S. Geological Survey. (1995). Ground Water Atlas of the United States: Segent 10, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, Tennessee. U.S. Geological Survey. Retrieved from