Home » Regions » North America » Eastern Temperate Forests » Southeastern USA Plains » Interior Plateau » Little Mountain

Little Mountain

Page contents

About the Little Mountain

Little Mountain is a narrow, east-west region located within the southern end of the Interior Plateau, and completely contained within northern Alabama. Although referred to as a "mountain", this region is a homoclinal ridge whose top slopes against the pattern of stream drainage of the broader region.

This region can be seen as a dissected plateau whose top slopes upwards to the north, but where streams flow across it to the north, eventually flowing into the Tennessee river. As such, the terrain becomes progressively more rugged moving north in this region, until it ends abruptly where steep gorges open up onto broad, flat bottomlands. The area is underlain mostly by sandstone, with some shale and limestone; the rocks here are much older than the material in the nearby Appalachians. Soils here are mostly formed on decomposition residuum from the underlying rock, and a mix of sandy clay, clay, and clay-loam. The soils here are highly leached, but many have suitable textures for agriculture.

This region was originally covered mostly in oak-hickory-pine and oak-hickory forest. Nowadays it is covered in a mixture of mixed and deciduous forest, with significant pastureland, and some small areas of cropland. The region produces mostly hay and cattle, and some cotton and corn. The steep slopes and narrower ridges and valleys are nearly all forested, whereas there is agriculture on both the flatter uplands and broader bottomlands. This area is mostly sparsely populated, but it contains a few towns, including Somerville, Littleville, and several unincorporated communities.

This region is mostly surrounded by the Eastern Highland Rim to the north, east, and south, but at its western end it borders the Transition Hills to the southwest; that region is higher-elevation and, although less rugged overall due to having gentler slopes to valleys and lacking steep gorges, it is consistently hilly and lacks the flat tablelands between ridges.

References

1. Griffith, G.E., Omernik, J.M., Comstock, J.A., Lawrence, S., Martin, G., Goddard, A., Hulcher, V.J., and Foster, T. "Ecoregions of Alabama and Georgia (color poster with map, descriptive text, summary tables, and photographs)", U.S. Geological Survey, Reston, VA (2001) Web.