Appalachian Plateau Appalachian Plateau Valley and Ridge Blue Ridge Piedmont Coastal Plain Coastal Plain Coastal Plain Appalachian Plateau Valley and Ridge Blue Ridge Piedmont Coastal Plain Appalachian Plateau Valley and Ridge Blue Ridge Piedmont Coastal Plain Cross Section
 

Virginia Geology

Rocks exposed in the Commonwealth of Virginia record the advance of ancient shorelines, the collision of continents, the tracks of long-extinct dinosaurs, and over one billion years of geologic history. Virginia has a diverse landscape that extends from the high rocky summits in the Blue Ridge Mountains to low-lying barrier islands exposed to the Atlantic Ocean.

To begin discovering the geology and geologic history of Virginia click on any of the Commonwealth’s five provinces. If you’re new to geology, check our Term Definition Section, the Rock Cycle, and Geologic Time Table, to familiarize yourself with some of the terminology used.

 
 

Virginia geologic cross-section
To learn about Virginia's geology, click on a geologic province above. For a more detailed geologic map, click here.

Generalized Cross-Section of Virginia's geology
 


Some of the oldest rocks in the Appalachian Mountains are exposed in the Virginia Blue Ridge. At the Geological Society of America’s annual meeting in November, Richard Tollo from George Washington University and John Aleinikoff from the U.S. Geological Survey report new isotopic age dates from the northern Virginia Blue Ridge.
 
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2011 Department of Geology