Piedmont (United States)
Overview
 
The Piedmont is a plateau region located in the eastern United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 between the Atlantic Coastal Plain
Atlantic Coastal Plain
The Atlantic coastal plain has both low elevation and low relief, but it is also a relatively flat landform extending from the New York Bight southward to a Georgia/Florida section of the Eastern Continental Divide, which demarcates the plain from the ACF River Basin in the Gulf Coastal Plain to...

 and the main Appalachian Mountains
Appalachian Mountains
The Appalachian Mountains #Whether the stressed vowel is or ,#Whether the "ch" is pronounced as a fricative or an affricate , and#Whether the final vowel is the monophthong or the diphthong .), often called the Appalachians, are a system of mountains in eastern North America. The Appalachians...

, stretching from New Jersey
New Jersey
New Jersey is a state in the Northeastern and Middle Atlantic regions of the United States. , its population was 8,791,894. It is bordered on the north and east by the state of New York, on the southeast and south by the Atlantic Ocean, on the west by Pennsylvania and on the southwest by Delaware...

 in the north to central Alabama
Alabama
Alabama is a state located in the southeastern region of the United States. It is bordered by Tennessee to the north, Georgia to the east, Florida and the Gulf of Mexico to the south, and Mississippi to the west. Alabama ranks 30th in total land area and ranks second in the size of its inland...

 in the south. The Piedmont province is a physiographic province
Physiographic regions of the world
The physiographic regions of the world are a means of defining the Earth's landforms into distinct regions based upon classic 1916 three-tiered approach defining divisions, provinces, and sections...

 of the larger Appalachian
Appalachian Mountains
The Appalachian Mountains #Whether the stressed vowel is or ,#Whether the "ch" is pronounced as a fricative or an affricate , and#Whether the final vowel is the monophthong or the diphthong .), often called the Appalachians, are a system of mountains in eastern North America. The Appalachians...

 division. The province consists of the Piedmont Upland and Piedmont Lowlands sections.

The fall line
Fall line
A fall line is a geomorphologic unconformity between an upland region of relatively hard crystalline basement rock and a coastal plain of softer sedimentary rock. A fall line is typically prominent when crossed by a river, for there will often be rapids or waterfalls...

 marks its eastern boundary with the Coastal Plain.
Encyclopedia
The Piedmont is a plateau region located in the eastern United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 between the Atlantic Coastal Plain
Atlantic Coastal Plain
The Atlantic coastal plain has both low elevation and low relief, but it is also a relatively flat landform extending from the New York Bight southward to a Georgia/Florida section of the Eastern Continental Divide, which demarcates the plain from the ACF River Basin in the Gulf Coastal Plain to...

 and the main Appalachian Mountains
Appalachian Mountains
The Appalachian Mountains #Whether the stressed vowel is or ,#Whether the "ch" is pronounced as a fricative or an affricate , and#Whether the final vowel is the monophthong or the diphthong .), often called the Appalachians, are a system of mountains in eastern North America. The Appalachians...

, stretching from New Jersey
New Jersey
New Jersey is a state in the Northeastern and Middle Atlantic regions of the United States. , its population was 8,791,894. It is bordered on the north and east by the state of New York, on the southeast and south by the Atlantic Ocean, on the west by Pennsylvania and on the southwest by Delaware...

 in the north to central Alabama
Alabama
Alabama is a state located in the southeastern region of the United States. It is bordered by Tennessee to the north, Georgia to the east, Florida and the Gulf of Mexico to the south, and Mississippi to the west. Alabama ranks 30th in total land area and ranks second in the size of its inland...

 in the south. The Piedmont province is a physiographic province
Physiographic regions of the world
The physiographic regions of the world are a means of defining the Earth's landforms into distinct regions based upon classic 1916 three-tiered approach defining divisions, provinces, and sections...

 of the larger Appalachian
Appalachian Mountains
The Appalachian Mountains #Whether the stressed vowel is or ,#Whether the "ch" is pronounced as a fricative or an affricate , and#Whether the final vowel is the monophthong or the diphthong .), often called the Appalachians, are a system of mountains in eastern North America. The Appalachians...

 division. The province consists of the Piedmont Upland and Piedmont Lowlands sections.

The fall line
Fall line
A fall line is a geomorphologic unconformity between an upland region of relatively hard crystalline basement rock and a coastal plain of softer sedimentary rock. A fall line is typically prominent when crossed by a river, for there will often be rapids or waterfalls...

 marks its eastern boundary with the Coastal Plain. To the west, the Piedmont is mostly bounded by the Blue Ridge Mountains
Blue Ridge Mountains
The Blue Ridge Mountains are a physiographic province of the larger Appalachian Mountains range. This province consists of northern and southern physiographic regions, which divide near the Roanoke River gap. The mountain range is located in the eastern United States, starting at its southern-most...

, the easternmost range of the main Appalachians. Physiographically, the Piedmont is considered a province of the larger Appalachian Highlands physiographic division. The width of the Piedmont varies, being quite narrow above the Delaware River
Delaware River
The Delaware River is a major river on the Atlantic coast of the United States.A Dutch expedition led by Henry Hudson in 1609 first mapped the river. The river was christened the South River in the New Netherland colony that followed, in contrast to the North River, as the Hudson River was then...

 but nearly 300 miles (475 km) wide in North Carolina
North Carolina
North Carolina is a state located in the southeastern United States. The state borders South Carolina and Georgia to the south, Tennessee to the west and Virginia to the north. North Carolina contains 100 counties. Its capital is Raleigh, and its largest city is Charlotte...

. The Piedmont's area is approximately 80000 square miles (207,199 km²).

The name "Piedmont" comes from the French
French language
French is a Romance language spoken as a first language in France, the Romandy region in Switzerland, Wallonia and Brussels in Belgium, Monaco, the regions of Quebec and Acadia in Canada, and by various communities elsewhere. Second-language speakers of French are distributed throughout many parts...

 term for the same physical region, literally meaning "foothill", ultimately from Latin "pedem montium", meaning "the foot of the mountains". The region is named after the Italian
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

 region of Piedmont
Piedmont
Piedmont is one of the 20 regions of Italy. It has an area of 25,402 square kilometres and a population of about 4.4 million. The capital of Piedmont is Turin. The main local language is Piedmontese. Occitan is also spoken by a minority in the Occitan Valleys situated in the Provinces of...

, the lowlands which about the Alps
Alps
The Alps is one of the great mountain range systems of Europe, stretching from Austria and Slovenia in the east through Italy, Switzerland, Liechtenstein and Germany to France in the west....

 .

Geology

The surface relief of the Piedmont is characterized by relatively low, rolling hills with heights above sea level
Sea level
Mean sea level is a measure of the average height of the ocean's surface ; used as a standard in reckoning land elevation...

 between 200 feet (50 m) and 800 feet to 1,000 feet (250 m to 300 m). Its geology
Geology
Geology is the science comprising the study of solid Earth, the rocks of which it is composed, and the processes by which it evolves. Geology gives insight into the history of the Earth, as it provides the primary evidence for plate tectonics, the evolutionary history of life, and past climates...

 is complex, with numerous rock formations of different materials and ages intermingled with one another. Essentially, the Piedmont is the remnant of several ancient mountain chains
Mountain range
A mountain range is a single, large mass consisting of a succession of mountains or narrowly spaced mountain ridges, with or without peaks, closely related in position, direction, formation, and age; a component part of a mountain system or of a mountain chain...

 that have since been eroded away. Geologists have identified at least five separate events which have led to sediment
Sediment
Sediment is naturally occurring material that is broken down by processes of weathering and erosion, and is subsequently transported by the action of fluids such as wind, water, or ice, and/or by the force of gravity acting on the particle itself....

 deposition, including the Grenville orogeny
Grenville orogeny
The Grenville Orogeny was a long-lived Mesoproterozoic mountain-building event associated with the assembly of the supercontinent Rodinia. Its record is a prominent orogenic belt which spans a significant portion of the North American continent, from Labrador to Mexico, as well as to Scotland...

 (the collision of continents that created the supercontinent
Supercontinent
In geology, a supercontinent is a landmass comprising more than one continental core, or craton. The assembly of cratons and accreted terranes that form Eurasia qualifies as a supercontinent today.-History:...

 Rodinia
Rodinia
In geology, Rodinia is the name of a supercontinent, a continent which contained most or all of Earth's landmass. According to plate tectonic reconstructions, Rodinia existed between 1.1 billion and 750 million years ago, in the Neoproterozoic era...

) and the Appalachian orogeny during the formation of Pangaea
Pangaea
Pangaea, Pangæa, or Pangea is hypothesized as a supercontinent that existed during the Paleozoic and Mesozoic eras about 250 million years ago, before the component continents were separated into their current configuration....

. The last major event in the history of the Piedmont was the break-up of Pangaea, when North America
North America
North America is a continent wholly within the Northern Hemisphere and almost wholly within the Western Hemisphere. It is also considered a northern subcontinent of the Americas...

 and Africa
Africa
Africa is the world's second largest and second most populous continent, after Asia. At about 30.2 million km² including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of the Earth's total surface area and 20.4% of the total land area...

 began to separate. Large basins
Sedimentary basin
The term sedimentary basin is used to refer to any geographical feature exhibiting subsidence and consequent infilling by sedimentation. As the sediments are buried, they are subjected to increasing pressure and begin the process of lithification...

 formed from the rift
Rift
In geology, a rift or chasm is a place where the Earth's crust and lithosphere are being pulled apart and is an example of extensional tectonics....

ing and were subsequently filled by the sediments shed from the surrounding higher ground. The series of Mesozoic
Mesozoic
The Mesozoic era is an interval of geological time from about 250 million years ago to about 65 million years ago. It is often referred to as the age of reptiles because reptiles, namely dinosaurs, were the dominant terrestrial and marine vertebrates of the time...

 basins is almost entirely located within the Piedmont region.

Soils and farming

Piedmont soils are generally clay
Clay
Clay is a general term including many combinations of one or more clay minerals with traces of metal oxides and organic matter. Geologic clay deposits are mostly composed of phyllosilicate minerals containing variable amounts of water trapped in the mineral structure.- Formation :Clay minerals...

-like and moderately fertile. In some areas they have suffered from erosion
Erosion
Erosion is when materials are removed from the surface and changed into something else. It only works by hydraulic actions and transport of solids in the natural environment, and leads to the deposition of these materials elsewhere...

 and over-cropping, particularly in the South where cotton
Cotton
Cotton is a soft, fluffy staple fiber that grows in a boll, or protective capsule, around the seeds of cotton plants of the genus Gossypium. The fiber is almost pure cellulose. The botanical purpose of cotton fiber is to aid in seed dispersal....

 was historically the chief crop. In the central Piedmont region of North Carolina and Virginia
Virginia
The Commonwealth of Virginia , is a U.S. state on the Atlantic Coast of the Southern United States. Virginia is nicknamed the "Old Dominion" and sometimes the "Mother of Presidents" after the eight U.S. presidents born there...

, tobacco
Tobacco
Tobacco is an agricultural product processed from the leaves of plants in the genus Nicotiana. It can be consumed, used as a pesticide and, in the form of nicotine tartrate, used in some medicines...

 is the main crop, while in the north there is more diversity, including orchard
Orchard
An orchard is an intentional planting of trees or shrubs that is maintained for food production. Orchards comprise fruit or nut-producing trees which are grown for commercial production. Orchards are also sometimes a feature of large gardens, where they serve an aesthetic as well as a productive...

s, dairy
Dairy
A dairy is a business enterprise established for the harvesting of animal milk—mostly from cows or goats, but also from buffalo, sheep, horses or camels —for human consumption. A dairy is typically located on a dedicated dairy farm or section of a multi-purpose farm that is concerned...

ing, and general farm
Farm
A farm is an area of land, or, for aquaculture, lake, river or sea, including various structures, devoted primarily to the practice of producing and managing food , fibres and, increasingly, fuel. It is the basic production facility in food production. Farms may be owned and operated by a single...

ing. The northern end of the piedmont has some of the most fertile soils.

Music

The Piedmont region is closely associated with the Piedmont blues
Piedmont blues
Piedmont blues refers primarily to a guitar style, the Piedmont fingerstyle, which is characterized by a fingerpicking approach in which a regular, alternating thumb bass string rhythmic pattern supports a syncopated melody using the treble strings generally picked with the fore-finger,...

, a style of blues
Blues
Blues is the name given to both a musical form and a music genre that originated in African-American communities of primarily the "Deep South" of the United States at the end of the 19th century from spirituals, work songs, field hollers, shouts and chants, and rhymed simple narrative ballads...

 music that originated there in the late 19th century. Most Piedmont blues musicians came from Virginia, the Carolinas, and Georgia. During the Great Migration
Great Migration (African American)
The Great Migration was the movement of 6 million blacks out of the Southern United States to the Northeast, Midwest, and West from 1910 to 1970. Some historians differentiate between a Great Migration , numbering about 1.6 million migrants, and a Second Great Migration , in which 5 million or more...

, Black Americans migrated to the Piedmont. With the Appalachian Mountains to the west, those who might otherwise have spread into rural areas stayed in cities and were thus exposed to a broader mixture of music than those in, for example, the rural Mississippi delta. Thus, Piedmont blues
Piedmont blues
Piedmont blues refers primarily to a guitar style, the Piedmont fingerstyle, which is characterized by a fingerpicking approach in which a regular, alternating thumb bass string rhythmic pattern supports a syncopated melody using the treble strings generally picked with the fore-finger,...

 was influenced by many types of music such as ragtime, country, and popular songs—styles that had comparatively less influence on blues music in other regions.

Cities

Many major cities are located on the fall line
Fall line
A fall line is a geomorphologic unconformity between an upland region of relatively hard crystalline basement rock and a coastal plain of softer sedimentary rock. A fall line is typically prominent when crossed by a river, for there will often be rapids or waterfalls...

, the eastern boundary of the Piedmont. Within the Piedmont region itself there are several areas of urban concentration, the largest being the Atlanta metropolitan area in Georgia. In North Carolina, the Piedmont Crescent
Piedmont Crescent
The Piedmont Crescent, also known as the Piedmont Urban Crescent, is a large, polycentric urbanized region in the U.S. state of North Carolina that forms the northern section of the rapidly developing I-85 Corridor megalopolis in the southeastern United States...

 includes several metropolitan clusters such as Metrolina (Charlotte)
Charlotte metropolitan area
The Charlotte metropolitan area is a metropolitan area/region of North and South Carolina within and surrounding the city of Charlotte...

, the Piedmont Triad
Piedmont Triad
The Piedmont Triad, or Triad, is a north-central region of the U.S. state of North Carolina that consists of the area within and surrounding the three major cities of Greensboro, Winston-Salem, and High Point. This close group or "triad" of cities lies in the Piedmont geographical region of the...

, and the Research Triangle. The South Carolina Piedmont contains the major city of Greenville
Greenville, South Carolina
-Law and government:The city of Greenville adopted the Council-Manager form of municipal government in 1976.-History:The area was part of the Cherokee Nation's protected grounds after the Treaty of 1763, which ended the French and Indian War. No White man was allowed to enter, though some families...

.

Further reading

  • Michael A. Godfrey (1997). Field Guide to the Piedmont. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press. 524 pages. ISBN 0-8078-4671-6.

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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