The Geology of Virginia's Appalachian Plateau
F O R   S T U D E N T S   &   T E A C H E R S

Coal seams exposed along Keen Mountain, Buchanan County.
Each seam is approximately 0.5 m.


n Virginia, the southwestern portion of the state is part of the Appalachian Plateau province. It lies to the northwest of the Valley & Ridge province. The boundary between the two provinces, known as the Allegheny structural front in northern and central Virginia A, is where the large folds of rock found in the Valley & Ridge become smaller folds and flat-lying rocks in the Plateau.

Although some parts of the Plateau are relatively flat, there are many valleys and stream hollows, making it much of the Appalachian Plateau very hilly and rugged. Huge folds in the Plateau were formed when thrust faults from the Valley & Ridge province didn't reach today's surface.

The upper Paleozoic layers of the Plateau are rich in mineral resources like coal, natural gas, and petroleum.