Piedmont is a plateau region
located in the eastern United States between the Atlantic Coastal Plain and the main
Mountains, stretching from New Jersey in the north to central Alabama in the
south. The Piedmont province is a
province of the larger Appalachian division.
plateau region (shaded)
The province consists of the
and Piedmont Lowlands
sections. The Fall line
marks its eastern boundary with the
Coastal Plain. To the west, the Piedmont is mostly bounded by the
Blue Ridge Mountains
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
but nearly 300 miles (475 km) wide in North Carolina.
The Piedmont's area is approximately 80,000
square miles (207,000 km²).
The name "Piedmont" roughly translates as foot (pied) hill (mont)
in French, and the region is named after the Italian region of
The surface relief of the Piedmont is characterized by relatively
low, boiling hills with heights above sea
between 200 feet (50 m) and 800 feet to 1,000 feet (250 m
to 300 m). Its geology
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
that have since been eroded away. Geologists have
identified at least five separate events which have led to sediment
deposition, including the Grenville orogeny
(the collision of
continents that created the supercontinent Rodinia
) and the Appalachian orogeny
during the formation
. The last major event in the
history of the Piedmont was the break-up of Pangaea, when North America
began to separate. Large basins
formed from the rifting
and were subsequently
filled by the sediments shed from the surrounding higher ground.
The series of Mesozoic
basins is almost
entirely located within the Piedmont region.
Soils and farming
Piedmont soils are generally clay
moderately fertile. In some areas they have suffered from erosion
and over-cropping, particularly in the South
is the chief crop. In the central
Piedmont region of North Carolina and Virginia, tobacco is the main crop, while in the north there
is more diversity, including orchards,
dairying, and general farming.
The northern end of the piedmont has
some of the most fertile soils.
The Piedmont region is closely associated with the Piedmont blues
, a style of blues
music that originated there in the late 19th
century. Most Piedmont blues musicians came from Virginia, the
Carolinas, and Georgia. During the Great Migration
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
by many types of music such as ragtime, country, and popular
songs—styles that had comparatively less influence on blues music
in other regions.
Many major cities are located on the Fall
, the eastern boundary of the Piedmont. Within the Piedmont
region itself there are several areas of urban concentration. For
example, the Piedmont Crescent
North Carolina includes several metropolitan clusters such as
, the Piedmont Triad
, and The Triangle
. Another major city of
the Piedmont is Atlanta,
- Michael A. Godfrey (1997). Field Guide to the
Piedmont. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press. 524
pages. ISBN 0-8078-4671-6.