NPS Geodiversity Atlas—Blue Ridge Parkway, North Carolina and Virginia

Geodiversity refers to the full variety of natural geologic (rocks, minerals, sediments, fossils, landforms, and physical processes) and soil resources and processes that occur in the park. A product of the Geologic Resources Inventory, the NPS Geodiversity Atlas delivers information in support of education, Geoconservation, and integrated management of living (biotic) and non-living (abiotic) components of the ecosystem.

cover of gri report with photo of a cinder cone
In-depth geologic information is contained in the baseline inventory products of the Geologic Resources Inventory, see table below.


[Site Under Development]

Driving down the Blue Ridge Parkway is to, by design, follow the trace of the Blue Ridge Physiographic Province and experience the beautiful landscapes associated with the core of a massive ancient mountain range. Rocks visible along the way span more than a billion years of earth's history.

Geologic Features and Processes

Features visible along the parkway include the following:

  • Blue Ridge, Black, Great Craggy, Pisgah, and Great Balsam Mountains

  • Gaps

  • Faults and Folds

  • Bedrock Exposures: Sedimentary, Igneous, and Metamorphic Rocks

  • Earth Surface Processes: Surficial Units
  • Wetlands


Those varied geologic features and processes also create a multitude of resource management issues for park staff, including:

  • Geologic Hazards (slope movements and earthquakes)

  • Abandoned Mineral Lands

  • Disturbed Lands Restoration and Structural Integrity of the Parkway

  • Paleontological Resource Inventory, Monitoring, And Protection

Learn more about NPS programs for geologic resource management on these websites: [Geoconservation Programs] [Geohazards] [Fossil Stewardship] [Cave Resources Stewardship]

Regional Geology

Blue Ridge Parkway is a part of the Blue Ridge, Peidmont, and Valley and Ridge Physiographic Provinces and shares its geologic history and some characteristic geologic formations with a region that extends well beyond park boundaries.

Maps and Reports

The Geologic Resources Inventory produces digital geologic maps and reports for more than 270 natural resource parks. The products listed below are currently available for this park, check back often for updates as many maps, reports, and posters are still in progress.
  • Scoping summaries are records of scoping meetings where NPS staff and local geologists determined the park’s geologic mapping plan and what content should be included in the report.
  • Digital geologic maps include files for viewing in GIS software, a guide to using the data, and a document with ancillary map information. Newer products also include data viewable in Google Earth and online map services.
  • Reports use the maps to discuss the park’s setting and significance, notable geologic features and processes, geologic resource management issues, and geologic history.
  • Posters are a static view of the GIS data in PDF format. Newer posters include aerial imagery or shaded relief and other park information. They are also included with the reports.
  • Projects list basic information about the program and all products available for a park.

Source: Data Store Saved Search 2725. To search for additional information, visit the Data Store.

NPS Soil Resources Inventory project has been completed for Blue Ridge Parkway and can be found on the NPS Data Store.

Source: Data Store Saved Search 2777. To search for additional information, visit the Data Store.

Related Articles

Blue Ridge Parkway

National Park Service Geodiversity Atlas

The servicewide Geodiversity Atlas provides information on geoheritage and geodiversity resources and values within the National Park System. This information supports science-based geoconservation and interpretation in the NPS, as well as STEM education in schools, museums, and field camps. The NPS Geologic Resources Division and many parks work with National and International geoconservation communities to ensure that NPS abiotic resources are managed using the highest standards and best practices available.

For more information on the NPS Geodiversity Atlas, contact us.

Blue Ridge Parkway

Last updated: May 27, 2021