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Blue Ridge

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NameColor on MapEPA Code‡
Northern Igneous Ridges66a
Northern Sedimentary and Metasedimentary Ridges66b
New River Plateau66c
Southern Crystalline Ridges and Mountains66d
Southern Sedimentary Ridges66e
Limestone Valleys and Coves66f
Southern Metasedimentary Mountains66g
High Mountains66i
Broad Basins66j
Amphibolite Mountains66k
Eastern Blue Ridge Foothills66l
Sauratown Mountains66m

† Status: ✓ = Complete ○ = Needs Image … = Incomplete ∅ = Stub Only

This code refers to the US EPA's Level 4 ecoregion codes for the continental U.S., see here.


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About the Blue Ridge

The Blue Ridge represents the southeasternmost (and closest to the coast) layer of the Appalachians. It stretches northeast-southwest from southern Pennsylvania into northern Georgia, but it covers a much broader region towards the southern end, whereas it is thin and broken in the north.

The Blue Ridge has the highest elevations in the Appalachians, including Mount Mitchell, which is over 6,600ft (2,000m); most of the region ranges from about 1,000-500ft (300-1,500m). The terrain is rugged and the underlying bedrock is mostly metamorphic, with only small areas of igneous and sedimentary rock.

The climate here ranges from a humid continental climate in the north, to subtropical in the south. Parts of this region in the south are classified as having an oceanic climate because of their moderate temperatures and high humidity, in spite of their distance from the ocean.

This area has some of the highest plant diversity among temperate forests anywhere in the world. Historically the forests here were dominated by American chestnut (Castanea dentata), which was mostly eliminated by the Chestnut blight. Broadleaf deciduous forests are dominant at all but the highest elevations, where coniferous trees and broadleaf evergreen shrubs become more common.

The entire length of this region is bordered to the northwest by the diverse and lower-lying Ridge and Valley region, and to the southeast, by the Piedmont, except at the northernmost portion where it is bordered by the Northern Piedmont.

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1. Wiken, E., Griffith, G. "North American Terrestrial Ecoregions - Level III", Commission for Environmental Cooperation, (2011) Web.