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West Virginia Geologic Map

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West Virginia occupies the heart of the Appalachian Plateau and its mineral wealth. (more below)
West Virginia's rocks

Created by Andrew Alden from the U.S. Geological Survey's Geologic Map of the United States, 1974, by Philip King and Helen Beikman (fair use policy)

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West Virginia lies in three of the major provinces of the Appalachian Mountains. Its easternmost part is in the Valley and Ridge province, except for the very tip which is in the Blue Ridge province, and the rest is in the Appalachian Plateau.

The area of West Virginia was part of a shallow sea throughout most of the Paleozoic Era. It was mildly disturbed by tectonic developments that raised mountains to its east, along the continental edge, but mainly it accepted sediments from those mountains from Cambrian time (more than 500 million years ago) into the Permian (about 270 million years ago).

The older rocks in this series are of largely marine origin: sandstone, siltstone, limestone and shale with some salt beds during Silurian time. During the Pennsylvanian and Permian, starting about 315 million years ago, a long series of coal swamps produced seams of coal across most of West Virginia. The Appalachian orogeny interrupted this situation, folding the rocks in the Valley and Ridge to their present state and raising the deep, ancient rocks of the Blue Ridge where erosion has exposed them today.

West Virginia is a major producer of coal, limestone, glass sand and sandstone. It also produces salt and clay. Learn more about the state from the West Virginia Geological and Economic Survey.

More about West Virginia Geology

More West Virginia resources on About.com:
West Virginia Maps
West Virginia Geography, State Symbols & Facts
West Virginia National Parks
West Virginia State Parks for Spring
West Virginia State Parks for Winter
West Virginia Campgrounds
West Virginia Rafting
West Virginia Bed & Breakfasts
West Virginia Skiing

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