Physical Geography of Georgia

Georgia’s Geography
SS8G1 The student will describe Georgia with regard to physical features and location.
a. Locate Georgia in relation to region, nation, continent, and hemispheres.
b. Describe the five geographic regions of Georgia; include the Blue Ridge Mountains, Valley and
Ridge, Appalachian Plateau, Piedmont, and Coastal Plain.
c. Locate and evaluate the importance of key physical features on the development of Georgia; include
the Fall Line, Okefenokee Swamp, Appalachian Mountains, Chattahoochee and Savannah Rivers, and
barrier islands.
Earth is a sphere.
A sphere can be divided into
halves called “hemispheres.”
• Divides the northern and southern
Prime Meridian
• Divides the eastern and western
• There are 7 continents: Europe, Asia,
Australia, Africa, Antarctica, North
America, and South America
Georgia is on the
Northern AND Western hemispheres
Northern Hemisphere
Western Hemisphere
Georgia is on the North
American continent.
Georgia is one of the 50 states in the
United States of America
Georgia is in the southeastern
region of the US.
Pop Quiz
Read this question silently and think about
the answer in your head: What is the
highest peak in Georgia?
a. Amicalola Falls
b. Brasstown Bald
c. Cloudland Canyon
d. Tallulah Gorge
Answer to today’s question
• B – Brasstown Bald
Essential Questions
• Which North American regions are found
in Georgia and what are some
distinguishing characteristics of each?
• What is the relative location of these
regions within the boundaries of the State?
Georgia Performance Standards
SS8G1 The student will describe Georgia with regard to
physical features and location.
b. Describe the five geographic regions of Georgia; include
the Blue Ridge Mountains, Valley and Ridge, Appalachian
Plateau, Piedmont, and Coastal Plain.
The Regions of Georgia
© 2010 Clairmont Press
Geographic Regions of Georgia
Appalachian Plateau
Coastal Plains
Blue Ridge Mountains
Ridge and Valley
What is Physical Geography?
• The study of the natural features of the
earth's surface, especially in its current
aspects, including land formations,
climate, currents, and distribution of flora
and fauna. Also called physiography
Georgia has 5 geographic regions.
Appalachian Plateau
Valley and Ridge
Blue Ridge
Coastal Plain
The characteristics of each region make
unique contributions to our state.
Appalachian Plateau Region
• Also called the TAG
corner because
Tennessee, Alabama,
and Georgia connect
• Smallest region in GA
• Mining was an
important economic
activity in the region.
• Coal was the most
important product.
Appalachian Plateau
• the location of Cloudland State Park.
• Northwest corner of Georgia
• Ellison’s Cave is 12th largest cave
Valley and Ridge Region
• long ridges of mountains,
separated by long valleys.
• Chickamauga – (Civil War
• Valleys have fertile land
good for farming.
• Roads and streams follow
the valleys. A few roads
cross the ridges to connect
roads in the valleys.
• traditionally a mining
region, with the valleys
being used for agriculture.
• Natural resources –
farmland, rock, and timber
Valley and Ridge
• Lower elevation than Appalachian Plateau
• Soil good for forests, pastures, and crops
such as grain and apples
• Industry includes textiles and carpet (Dalton
is the carpet capital of the world)
Blue Ridge Mountains Region
• The Blue Ridge range is a part of
the larger Appalachian Mountains.
• The mountains are more rugged
and the valleys randomly arranged
as compared to the Ridge and
Valley region.
• Most roads follow the winding
• Elevations of 1,600 to 4,700 feet
above sea level give the region a
cooler climate.
• Brasstown Bald (4,784 feet) is
tallest mountain.
• Appalachian Trail begins here.
• Gold has been found in the region,
and marble is an important natural
• Tourists come to hike, view wildlife,
canoe, raft, and enjoy trees in their
fall colors.
• Highest rainfall amounts in GA
Blue Ridge
• Highest mts. in the state.
• Provides water for the entire state through
precipitation from trapping warm moist Gulf
• Sandy loam and clay soil good for hardwoods,
vegetable farming and apples
• Home to Amicalola Falls, Tallulah Gorge, and
• 1800’s gold was found – first gold rush in US
• Cherokee Native Americans lived here until
forced off their land
Blue Ridge Images
Brasstown Bald: You can
see 3 states from this point.
Can you name them?
Amicalola Falls
• What are the significant physical features
of Georgia that have impacted its
Piedmont Region
• The Piedmont is known for its
rolling hills between the
mountains and Coastal Plain.
• Plentiful granite and clay soil
with fertile farms.
• Many Georgians live in the
• Rivers flow through the
Piedmont, including the
Chattahoochee and Savannah.
• Southern boundary is the Fall
• Changes in rock type cause the
ground to fall away, creating
waterfalls at the “fall” line across
the state.
Lakes and Rivers of Georgia
• Cities grew along the
Fall Line since ships
could navigate from
the Atlantic to this
point (Augusta:
Savannah River;
Milledgeville: Oconee
River; Macon:
Ocmulgee River;
Chattahoochee River).
• Piedmont means “foot of the mountain”
• Begins in the mountain foothills of N. Georgia
and goes to the central part of the state.
• Rolling farmland
• Soil is sandy loam and red clay suitable for
growing hardwoods, pine, and agriculture.
• Granite mining and cotton production important
in region
• Cotton belt before the Civil War, now wheat,
soybeans, corn, poultry, and cattle.
• Some of the most densely populated cities and
crossed by Chattahoochee, Flint, Ocmulgee, and
Oconee rivers.
Largest populated region
Rolling Hills
Chattahoochee River flows through this region
Stone Mountain is located in this region
Atlanta is located in this region
Piedmont Images
Georgia’s Flint River
Why do you think most of
starts in Clayton County.
Georgia’s major cities are
located in the Piedmont
Why do you think most of
Georgia’s rivers start in the
Piedmont region?
Sandy loam and
red clay make
good soil for
Stone Mountain
Coastal Plain Region
the southern half of state and is the
largest region.
Lower coastal plain has Georgia’s barrier
islands, 100 miles of coastline, marshes,
and the Okefenokee Swamp.
Flatland makes for highways that are
straight and level.
Home to many types of wildlife.
Farming is important to the region’s
Loblolly and slash pines are grown in the
region today for lumber.
Tybee Island, GA
Coastal Plain Region
• Once covered by the Atlantic
• Aquifers are the largest source
of fresh water
• Low, flat, marshland
• Okefenokee Swamp located in
• Rivers in this region are used
for shipping and recreation
• You live in this region.
Coastal Plain
There are two parts to
Georgia’s coastal plain:
•The Inner Coastal Plain
•The Outer Coastal Plain
The Inner Coastal Plain
• Good supply of underground water
• Major agricultural region: Vidalia Onions,
peanuts, pecans, and corn
Vidalia Onions
GA Peanuts
The Outer Coastal Plain
• Soil not good for agriculture but trees provide naval
stores and pulp production
• Deep harbors & barrier islands also provide for
tourism/recreation, fishing industry, and ports for
importing/exporting goods.
• Location of the earliest visits by explorers, first forts
for protection, and Georgia’s first settlements.
Outer Coastal Plain Images
Trees are used to
produce pulp and naval
stores. The processed goods
are then shipped from our
Fort Frederica National Monument, on St.
Simons Island, Georgia, preserves the
archaeological remnants of a fort and town
built by James Oglethorpe between 1736 and
Our shores continue to
bring visitors to our
Early map of Savannah
Western GA in the Coastal
Jimmy Carter is the 39th
president of the United
States and the only
president ever elected from
the state of Georgia.
Jimmy Carter’s boyhood
Farm is located in Plains, GA
Western GA in the Coastal
Andersonville, a Civil War prison
Western GA in the Coastal
Providence Canyon
Georgia Performance Standards
SS8G1 The student will describe Georgia with regard to
physical features and location.
c. Locate and evaluate the importance of key physical
features on the development of Georgia; include the
Fall Line, Okefenokee Swamp, Appalachian
Mountains, Chattahoochee and Savannah Rivers, and
barrier islands.
Okefenokee Swamp
– Covers 681 square miles making it the largest
swamp in North America
– Freshwater wetland (wetland: low-lying land
area where water lies close to the surface)
– Native Americans from the Archaic period lived
– Area is protected by the federal government
Okefenokee Swamp
See the Okefenokee like never before:
Another type of wetland
• Salt Marshes:
– A wetland that is influenced by tides
– Georgia ranks 4th in the nation in wetland acres
A marsh at low tide.
The same marsh at high
Georgia’s Barrier Islands
“Islands of Gold”
• Barrier islands protect the mainland from wind,
sand, and water that cause erosion.
• Georgia has 18 barrier islands.
• These islands are tourist destinations but 2/3 of
the land remains wilderness sanctuaries.
Barrier Islands
Fall Line
natural boundary between the Piedmont and
Coastal Plain regions
Appalachian Mountains
• The southernmost point of the
Appalachian Mountains is located in
• Georgia’s highest peaks are in here.
• In the southern states these mountains are
often called the Blue Ridge due to the blue
haze that appears around their peaks.
• The highest peak in Georgia is Brasstown
Bald, w/ an elevation over 4700 ft. above
sea level.
Appalachian Mountains
Chattahoochee River
• begins in Blue Ridge region of GA and
ends at the Gulf of Mexico
• forms part of the border b/t Alabama and
• Native Americans & European settlers
long used the river as a food and water
• Today, river is used as water source, for
industry, and for recreation
Chattahoochee River
Savannah River
• forms the border between Georgia and
South Carolina
• One of Georgia’s longest waterways
• The river has been a source of water, food,
and transportation for thousands of years.
• Historically, it was used for three reasons:
– Transportation – cultures could move to other
places easier
– Settlement – allowed cultures to settle near a
steady source of food
– Economic – allowed cultures to trade with
Savannah River continued…
• Today, the river is navigable for over 200
miles between the city of Savannah and
• In addition to shipping, the river, today, is
used as a major source of drinking water
for Savannah and Augusta, to cool two
nuclear power plants in South Carolina,
and to generate hydroelectric power.
Savannah River
Do Now
1. What river is the primary source of water
for Atlanta?
a. Altamaha
b. Chattahoochee
c. Flint
d. Savannah
Answer to Today’s Question
• B – Chattahoochee River