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Southern Metasedimentary Mountains

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About the Southern Metasedimentary Mountains

The Southern Metasedimentary Mountains are a major component of the Blue Ridge mountains of the Appalachians. These mountains are mostly concentrated at the southwesternmost portion of the Blue Ridge, and extend through western North Carolina, eastern Tennessee, and into northern Alabama.

This region consists of mountains with steep-ridges, with heavily-dissected terrain. It is underlain by metamorphosed sedimentary rocks, and they are not as strongly metamorphosed as the rocks in the neighboring crystalline mountains. A diverse range of materials are found in the bedrock here, including metagraywacke, metasiltstone, metasandstone, metaconglomerate, slate, schist, phyllite, and quartzite. Although some of these materials are a bit softer and more erodible than those in the nearby crystalline mountains, others are not, and overall this region stretches to higher elevations on average and averages slightly greater local relief.

This region is still almost entirely forested. Large portions of it are protected as public land, mostly through the U.S. Forest Service or National Park Service.

References

1. Griffith, G.E.; Omernik, J.M.; and Azevedo, S.H. "Ecoregions of Tennessee (Poster)", U.S. Geological Survey, Reston, VA (1998) Web.