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Appalachian Mountains

The Appalachian Mountains, often called the Appalachians, are a vast system of mountains in eastern North America. The Appalachians are believed to have been the highest mountains on earth roughly 460 million years ago during the Ordovician Period, much like (but higher than) the Himalayas today, when all of today's continents were joined as the supercontinent Pangaea.

Appalachian zones in the United States.The Appalachian chain is a barrier to east-west travel as it forms a series of alternating ridgelines and valleys oriented in opposition to any road running east-west.

Definitions vary on the precise boundaries of the Appalachians.  The United States Geological Survey (USGS) defines the Appalachian Highlands physiographic division as consisting of thirteen provinces: the Atlantic Coast Uplands, Eastern Newfoundland Atlantic, Maritime Acadian Highlands, Maritime Plain, Notre Dame And Megantic Mountains, Western Newfoundland Mountains, Piedmont, Blue Ridge, Valley and Ridge, Saint Lawrence Valley, Appalachian Plateaus, New England province, and the Adirondack provinces.

A common variant definition does not include the Adirondack Mountains, which are often said to have more in common with the Canadian Shield than the Appalachians.

  • Overview
  • Geography
    • Regions
    • Chief summits
    • Drainage
  • Geology
    • Mineral resources
  • Ecology
    • Flora
    • Fauna
  • Influence on history

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