High Elevation Synclines?

Words by L. Whalen

Models by P. Prince

How do you end up with synclines – troughs or U-shaped folds – as the highest parts of a mountain belt? Synclines are easier to imagine as valleys – not ridges.


image: wikipedia.org

The answer has to do with one of the strongest rock units in the Appalachians – the Tuscarora sandstone. Found in Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania, this unit forms many of the summits of the Appalachian range.


The view from McAfee Knob in Virginia, a prominent ridge of Tuscarora sandstone. Photo: L.Whalen

In this 4 part series we explore how rock strength has affected the topography of the Appalachian chain.


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