THE APPALACHIANS appears unimpressive on first sight. The gently undulating ridgeline follows the Atlantic coast without spectacular craggy peaks and rocky profiles common to our western ranges. So what's going on? How did they come to be? One significant clue lies with the river that crosses these mountains.
One Appalachian river, the New River, is considered by geologists to be one of the world's oldest rivers considering the bedrock it cuts through. They reason that the older the rock, the older the river. So it's surprising to learn that the New River -- despite its name -- has bedrock much older than every other major world river including the Nile, Amazon, or Yangtze River. Further evidence of the river's age comes from the meandering manner that this ancient river cuts across (rather than follows along) the Appalachian range. This unusual configuration confirms an ancient course that precedes the formation of the Appalachian Mountains themselves.
The Appalachians were created some 325 million years ago when the earth's continental plates collided and then drifted apart to form the African, European, and American land masses we recognize today. During that event a massive stress uplifted a high wide mountain chain stretching hundreds of miles from Newfoundland southward, and then subsequent erosion wore down the once rugged mountain profile. We know that river meanders only form on flat plains, so the river must have existed before the ranges were pushed up and parts of the river course must have already existed during that time. So it can be concluded that the New River, and the Appalachian Mountains, are older than the Atlantic Ocean itself.
Now, how cool is that! I certainly have a "new" respect for this venerable mountain range.
Miles 3446, Week 41, Weather 85F☀️