Location of the Appalachians (brown) on the eastern side of North America (from Wikipedia).

Location of the Appalachians (brown) on the eastern side of North America (from Wikipedia).

An interesting article, published in GSA Today (a publication by the Geological Society of America) in February 2013, describes features of the landscape of the Appalachian Mountains. These are a system of mountain ranges in eastern North America, extending from around Atlanta, Georgia, north past New York, and into Canada (see figure left). The paper is entitled Miocene rejuvenation of topographic relief in the southern Appalachians.

 

This title would not mean anything to most people, because like most geological articles in geological journals this one is written in technical language making it difficult for a lay person to follow. So I’ll post the abstract below with my lay-friendly comments interspersed.

Conventional wisdom holds that the southern Appalachian Mountains have not experienced a significant phase of tectonic forcing for >200 myr;

In other words, the Appalachians were uplifted over 200 million years ago and have not been uplifted since. This means the Appalachians are considered a very old mountain range that has been exposed to normal weathering processes (rain, snow, ice, erosion, landslides, etc.) for hundreds of millions of years. (I’m quoting their figures, but the idea of millions of years comes from evolutionary assumptions, which I don’t accept, and which I discuss a bit more later.)….

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