The partially molten oceanic crust formed large granitic intrusions and fed ancient volcanoes. Some 380 million years ago, the ocean was completely closed and the sedimentary and volcanic rocks were pushed upwards and the primordial first Appalachians mountains formed. Sixty-five to 220 million years ago, Pangaea started to break apart and a new ocean (the Atlantic) started to form. The Appalachians were pushed away from the most tectonically active area, and without tectonic movements from below, erosion started slowly to wear the mountains down. Today the highest peak in the Appalachians is the 6,680 ft summit of Mount Mitchell in North Carolina, half the height of average peaks in the Rocky Mountains. However, the succession of soft sedimentary rocks and hard volcanic rocks forms a series of parallel ridges and tectonic fractures and the tectonic movements of two large mountain building cycles fractured and tilted the rocks, causing a rocky and rough terrain.
So only the French, settling in the northern territories (later to become Canada), claimed parts of the Appalachians by establishing a network of outposts for trading fur in the wilderness. In the south, the peninsula of Florida and the Great Plains were claimed by Spanish settlers, establishing the colony of New Spain. It seemed that the British colonists were surrounded by both natural and political opponents. However, that isolation soon provided decisive. The plains in the Great Appalachian Valley in eastern Pennsylvania provided fertile grounds and the population of the British colonies grow over time, unnoticed by the French and Spanish authorities.
Soon those colonists expanded westwards in search of new land. This led to a conflict between England and France above the control of the few gaps and mountain passes in the Appalachians. The English colonists were far more numerous and better supplied than the French, having direct access to the sea. The rugged, poorly accessible terrain of the Appalachians proved to be difficult for the French and allied Indians to defend, and were eventually lost to the expanding British colonies. After the end of the French-American War, the English crown wanted to limit new settlements to the area of the Appalachians, hoping to avoid further conflicts with the remaining French and Spanish forces. However, the unexpected result of this political move was resentment among the American colonies. The colonists became convinced that the crown didn’t care for the political future of the successful expanding colonies. Among other factors, this resentment would contribute to the later Revolutionary War, leading in the end to the foundation of the United States of America.
All thanks to some tectonic movement hundreds of millions of years before.
Interested in reading more? Try:
ALESHIRE, P. (2008): The Extreme Earth – Mountains. Chelsea House Publishers: 144
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The story of the Appalachians started practically half a billion years back. The very first British colonialists shown up in The United States and Canada simply400 years back. Yet both occasions are linked and formed the history of the modern-day United States. Without a series of mountain structure cycles65 to 490 million years ago triggered by the putting together and break up of the supercontinent Pangaea, it’s possible that today we would see the United States of Canada having a border to the south with the Spanish-American Empire.
(* )The very first British colonists showed up to America in1607 and were restricted by mountains to the seaside plains surrounding the Atlantic. The north-south trending ridges of the Appalachians , covering 1,500 miles from Nova Scotia to Alabama, were a challenging surface not matched for long-term settlements and of no usage to the very first European farmers. The rugged(***** )Appalachians(**** )started forming some470 million years back when the ancient continents of Laurasia( making up the North American plate) and Gondwana( making up South America and Africa )clashed, forming the supercontinent called Pangaea. In this procedure, the Iapetus Ocean( situated in between the 2 land masses )closed and parts of the oceanic crust were pressed under the North American plate, partly melting. The thick successions of sediments, covering from 470 to570 million years in age, of the Iapetus Ocean were folded, slanted and stacked above each other throughout the sluggish closing of the oceanic basin.
(* )The partly molten oceanic crust formed big granitic invasions and fed ancient volcanoes. Some(************************************** )million years back, the ocean was totally closed and the sedimentary and volcanic rocks were pressed upwards and the primitive very first Appalachians mountains formed. Sixty-five to 220 million years back, Pangaea began to disintegrate and a brand-new ocean (the Atlantic )began to form. The Appalachians were pressed far from the most tectonically active location, and without tectonic motions from below, disintegration began gradually to use the mountains down. Today the greatest peak in the Appalachians is the 6, (****************************** )feet top of Mount Mitchell in North Carolina, half the height of typical peaks in the Rocky Mountains. Nevertheless, the succession of soft sedimentary rocks and difficult volcanic rocks forms a series of parallel ridges and tectonic fractures and the tectonic motions of 2 big mountain structure cycles fractured and slanted the rocks, triggering a rocky and rough surface.
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& Alabama by B. Willis, from The Mechanics of Appalachian Structure, book released in1891( Image in public domain, picture by David Bressan)(** )(*************** )(********** )