By D. Gordon Bennett, Jeffrey C. Patton
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Additional info for A Geography of the Carolinas
During this time, little tectonic activity has been taking place. The primary geologic events occurring have been the wearing down of the mountains and Piedmont by erosion and the subsequent transportation and deposition of the sediment onto the coastal plain by rivers. Located on the Piedmont are numer- ous remnants of the greater mountains that once existed there. These monadnocks exist because they are composed of rock that is harder or less fractured than the surrounding rock. The Coastal Plain—that broad relatively flat surface—has been the recipient of the sediment eroding oﬀ of the highlands to the west and of deposits laid down when the sea has periodically covered it.
The idea that they are the result of a chance encounter with a passing black hole or comet, which showered the east coast with large ice fragments, was initially well received. However, in recent years those ideas have fallen out of favor for a more earthly theory that the bays were formed by a combination of terrestrial factors. These factors include artesian springs creating surface ponds that were subsequently shaped by wind action. Thom (1970) maintains that thousands of years ago shallow ponds and lakes on the sandy Coastal Plain were subjected to prevailing southwest winds, which caused the bays to lengthen along the northwest-southeast axis, and for sand rims to develop on the leeward side of the lake or bay.
8). These belts run roughly parallel to one another from the southwest to the northeast. The belts are composed primarily of metamorphosed rock, indicating a landscape that was subject to the intense pressure and heat that only great mountain building events are capable of supplying. The easternmost of the belts, the Eastern Slate Belt, contains metamorphosed volcanic and sedimentary rock formed during the Taconic Orogeny. Intruding through the Eastern Slate Belt are much younger granitic bodies, called plutons, probably created when magma welled upward during the more recent Alleghenian Orogeny.
A Geography of the Carolinas by D. Gordon Bennett, Jeffrey C. Patton