Looking out over Shenandoah, can you imagine the mountains here being as high as the
The story doesn’t end there, however. Shenandoah’s peaks offer a wide range of memorable terrains that reflect the long, diverse history of these mountains. Different types of rock produce distinct terrains, reflecting their unique character and histories.
Igneous and metamorphic rocks, left over from a mountain range even older than the
Appalachians, form the foundation upon which the Shenandoah Blue Ridge rises. Over one billion years old, they can still form dramatic topography, creating the rounded, boulder-strewn summits of , Old Rag Mountain , and Marys Rock. Hogback Mountain
Ancient lava flows, 570 million years old, now form the sheer, jagged cliffs of Stony Man, Hawksbill, and many other peaks within the park. These flows, stacked one atop the other, create a staircase-like topography of sheer cliffs and flat benches that produce many of the most distinctive landscapes in Shenandoah. Most of the park’s major waterfalls are located where streams cut through these layers of lava and plunge into steep-walled canyons.
Quartz sandstones and other sedimentary rocks, from the shores of an ocean predating the
Atlantic, now create the steep slopes and rugged topography of the park’s unique South District. Fused together and altered in the heat and pressure of mountain-building, the white quartzites form the great cliffs and boulder fields of , Calvary Rocks, and Blackrock South. Rocky Mountain
Everywhere you look, the mountains of Shenandoah hint at their stories through their very shape and composition. The geologic history that created and shaped these rocks and mountains continues to influence the vegetation, animals, and people that live in and pass through the park.
A website that provides helpful information about the Blue Ridge Mountains is:
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