The Appalachians in Florida?

Much of the sand in the Sunshine State’s major geographic regions originated elsewhere.

The Appalachian Mountains extend from Alabama to New York; no part of the range is in Florida. But much of the Appalachian’s sediment is in the Sunshine State, according to the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF-IFAS) website, “Florida’s Geological History.”

“Rivers and ocean currents transport tremendous quantities of sediments into Florida derived from the Appalachian Mountains and southeastern coastal plain,” the UF-IFAS website reports. “Much of the quartz sand covering the state today, as well as the heavy mineral deposits, trace their origin to the Appalachian Mountains.”


“Regionally, Florida can be divided into north and central highlands and coastal lowlands,” the UF-IFAS website states. “The landscape of north Florida is dominated by the northern highlands, a series of gently sloping plateaus, bordered to the south by a scarp, which separates the highlands from the Gulf Coast lowlands. The Gulf coast lowlands extend south to the Caloosahatchee River. Central Florida is characterized by the central highlands, a series of elongated ridges. The southern peninsula is low lying and includes the Florida Everglades.”

A Florida History Internet Center (FHIC) website, “Florida: The Setting,” breaks Florida’s geographic regions down even further. “Today, Florida has six major geographic regions that historians utilize to describe regions,” the FHIC states. Here’s how the FHIC describes those regions:

“The Coastal Lowlands encircle the state and extend along the shores inland from ten to one hundred miles. The most recent region to emerge from the ocean, the lowlands are covered with forests of saw palmetto and cypress. In the south are the great grass savannas and mangroves of the Lake Okeechobee Basin and the Everglades. The coastal swamps and forests were once threatening obstacles to early settlers; today it is the booming population of settlers who endanger the coastal environment.

“Northwest of the coastal lowlands, between the Perdido and Apalachicola Rivers, are the Western Highlands. These hilly uplands of pine forest contain the highest elevations in Florida, a mere 345 feet at the northwestern part of Walton County.

“East of these Highlands is a region known as the Marianna Lowlands. In these lower, rolling hills and valleys dotted with limestone sections, are many of the state’s oldest farming districts.

“Further east, between the Apalachicola and Withlacoochee Rivers, are the Tallahassee Hills. This hilly region of live oak and pine forests gradually slope eastward to a small plain and the Suwannee River. This was Florida’s first great farming region.

“The center of the peninsula contains the Central Highlands. This large, 250-mile region contains rolling lake districts in the North and low grass plains in the South near Lake Okeechobee. This area is dotted by Upland Plains.