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UST 259 Lecture 5. Hill Country, Glaciated Plateau, & Till Plains: Chapters 10 - 12. Unglaciated Appalachian Plateau Hill country. Forested Pioneers clearcut for fuel (iron industry) video Mining for bituminous coal (strip mining) Much is reforested Ohio’s oldest landscape

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Ust 259 lecture 5

UST 259Lecture 5

Hill Country, Glaciated Plateau, & Till Plains:

Chapters 10 - 12

Unglaciated appalachian plateau hill country
Unglaciated Appalachian PlateauHill country

  • Forested

  • Pioneers clearcut for fuel (iron industry) video

  • Mining for bituminous coal (strip mining)

  • Much is reforested

  • Ohio’s oldest landscape

  • Old river system and valleys still evident – not altered by glaciers

Unglaciated appalachian plateau appalachian highlands
Unglaciated Appalachian Plateau Appalachian Highlands

  • Rock Layers

    • Middle to late Paleozoic acidic sandstones

    • Shale

    • Coal

    • Limestone, seldom

  • Knobs predominate along Ohio River & along Appalachian escarpment

  • ¾ of Hill country streams were

    once a part of the ancient

    TeaysRiver system

Unglaciated appalachian plateau glacial impact
Unglaciated Appalachian Plateau Glacial impact

  • Unglaciated…yes, Unaffected…no.

  • Profound glacial impact

    • Redirected river systems

    • Filled valleys with water

    • Impacted plant/animal populations by genetically & physically isolating them

  • Unusual drainage patterns & constituents

    • Alkaline waters

    • Glacial outwash (sand or gravel carried by glaciers)

Rosyside Dace

Unglaciated appalachian plateau climate weather
Unglaciated Appalachian Plateau Climate & Weather

  • Variety of microclimates present due to topographic variation

    • Frost pockets

    • Wind, humidity, evaporation

    • Sun exposure, surface temperature

  • Microclimate (along with varied soil and land surface types) have encouraged biological diversity in the Hill country

Unglaciated appalachian plateau 3 plant animal communities predominate hill country
Unglaciated Appalachian Plateau 3 Plant/ Animal Communities Predominate Hill country

  • Upland Mixed Oak Forests

  • Mixed Mesophytic Forests

  • Lowland Forests

Unglaciated appalachian plateau upland mixed oak forests
Unglaciated Appalachian Plateau Upland Mixed Oak Forests

  • Widespread in unglaciated Appalachian plateau

  • Canopy tree communities

    • White Oak is dominant species

    • Oak-Hickory communities

    • Loose, open tree canopy


  • Flower communities

    • Wood rush, fire pink, dittany

    • Beggar’s ticks, thorny greenbriar

Unglaciated appalachian plateau upland mixed oak forests1
Unglaciated Appalachian Plateau Upland Mixed Oak Forests

  • Understory tree communities

    • Sassafras

      • Provide food for promethea silk moth larvae

Unglaciated appalachian plateau upland mixed oak forests2
Unglaciated Appalachian Plateau Upland Mixed Oak Forests

Understory tree communities, continued

  • serviceberry

    • Provide early summer berries consumed by birds, & nesting site

  • Dogwood

  • Chestnut oaks

  • Mixed pines interspersed

    • Virginia Pine

    • Yellow Pine, White Pine

    • Both native &

      Reforested pines

  • Unglaciated appalachian plateau upland mixed oak forests3
    Unglaciated Appalachian Plateau Upland Mixed Oak Forests

    • Small Mammals

      • Gray squirrels

      • Flying squirrels (rarely seen)

      • Hairy-tailed moles

      • Short-tailed shrew

      • Fox shrew

      • Pygmy shrew (rare)

      • Eastern wood rat

    Unglaciated appalachian plateau upland mixed oak forests4

    Larger Mammals







    Cottontail rabbits

    Gray foxes

    Other Animals

    Turkey vultures, Black vultures

    Swifts (fence lizards)

    Large-headed skink


    Puff adders

    Poisonous copperhead

    Timber rattlesnake

    Unglaciated Appalachian Plateau Upland Mixed Oak Forests

    Unglaciated appalachian plateau mixed mesophytic forests
    Unglaciated Appalachian Plateau Mixed Mesophytic Forests

    • Mesophytes: plants growing in area with average water supply

    • Trees

      • White & red oak, tuliptree, sugar maple, beech, wild black cherry, white ash, blackgum, red maple, shagbark hirckory, bitternute, white basswood, black walnut, cucumber tree (north), yellow buckeye (south)

      • Less common: hemlock

    • Mainly moderate climate

    • Moist, well-drained, moderately acidic soils

    Unglaciated appalachian plateau mixed mesophytic forests1

    High tree and plant diversity

    1000’s of types of plants, mosses, fungi, lichens

    Undercanopy trees

    Hornbeam (musclewood or ironwood)









    Indian-pipe flower


    Non-native flowering plants

    Bigleaf magnolia

    Umbrella magnolia


    Flame azalea

    Great rohododendron

    Unglaciated Appalachian Plateau Mixed Mesophytic Forests

    Unglaciated appalachian plateau mixed mesophytic forests2
    Unglaciated Appalachian Plateau Mixed Mesophytic Forests

    • Fauna

      • Deer, gray squirrels, raccoons, skunk, weasels, bats

      • Black rat snakes, box turtles, wild turkey gobblers, ruffed grouse, great horned owls

      • Zebra swallowtail butterfly (eats pawpaw leaves)

      • Cecropia moth (largest in US 6inch wingspan)

      • Leaf miners, ticks, mites, centipedes, sowbugs

      • Salamanders (vernal pools)

      • Red-tailed hawk, screech & barred owls, pileated & downy woodpeckers, chickadees, tufted titmouse (permanent residents)

    Unglaciated appalachian plateau lowland forests streams
    Unglaciated Appalachian Plateau Lowland Forests & Streams

    • Trees (must survive on floodplains)

      • Black willow, non-native white willow, sycamore

      • River birch (south & in acid-mine drainage streams)

      • Cottonwood, silver maple, box elder (limey soils)

    • Origin of “Buckeye state” nickname

      • Michaux, 1818 botanist 1stnamed the tree species: yellow buckeye & Ohio buckeye

      • W.H.Harrisonused buckeye wood to create walking sticks for his presidential campaign

      • Species differ:

        • yellow buckeye= smooth seeds

        • Ohio buckeye= prickly, bumpy seeds

    • Rathbone elm

    Unglaciated appalachian plateau lowland forests streams1
    Unglaciated Appalachian Plateau Lowland Forests & Streams

    • Common animals

      • Mink, muskrats, beaver, rarely seen river otters

    • Birds (waterfowl)

      • Kingfisher, phoebes, wood ducks

    • Aquatic species

      • Northern water snake, painted turtle, snapping turtle, brown soft-shell turtle, hellbender (salamander)

      • Muskellunge, fresh-water mussels

        (historic food source)

    Unglaciated appalachian plateau mining
    Unglaciated Appalachian Plateau Mining

    • Coal & clay mining

    • Why damaging?

      • Bound with sulfur…causes environmental damage when released during mining

    • Acid mine drainage

    • If abated, waterways may recover (didn’t begin until post-WWII)

    • Many are not abated due to costs

    • Small scale strip-mining (pre-WWI) gave way to larger scale mining efforts over time

    Unglaciated appalachian plateau apples
    Unglaciated Appalachian Plateau Apples

    • Rome Beauty

      • 1817

      • Named 1848

    • Gallia Beauty

      • From a Rome Beauty seedling

      • Named 1865

    Glaciated plateau allegheny plateau geology
    Glaciated Plateau (Allegheny plateau) Geology

    • Glacial till weathered into rich agricultural soil

    • Bedrock (visible in roadcuts)

      • Limestone, shale, sandstone, conglomerate & coal, Pennsylvanian period

        • e.g. Sharon Sandstone

      • Shale & Sandstone, Mississipian

        • e.g. Berea Sandstone

      • Oldest rocks, Devonian

        • e.g. Chagrin Shale

    • Human utility of materials?

      • Quarried bedrock for building material

      • Clay & shale are also taken for brick, tile, pottery

      • Lesser presence of coal & gas

      • Rock salt mining

    Glaciated plateau glaciers landscape
    Glaciated PlateauGlaciers & Landscape

    • How did glaciers impact landscape?

      • Influence on soil

      • Influence on topography

      • Influence on water

    Glaciated plateau plants
    Glaciated PlateauPlants

    • Historic meeting point between N. Allegheny & Central Appalachian forests (noted during last 200 yrs)

      • White oak, like Appalachians

      • N. Hemlock forests similar to Allegheny woods in NY and PA

    • Most forests are 2ndary, regrown

    • Association of Northern and Southern species together on rare ecological islands

    • Deep glacial till deposits support widespread beech-maple forest growth

    • Maple syrup production (Geauga county)

    • Blueberries, clubmoss, pink ladyslipper like the acidic soils

    Glaciated plateau plants1
    Glaciated PlateauPlants

    • Wildflowers

      • Painted trillium (very rare)

      • Purple trillium

      • Spring ephemerals

        • Spring beauties, anemones, Dutchman’s breeches, purple cresses

      • Mayapples

      • Wild phlox

    • Signal Tree

      • Bur Oak

      • N. of Akron off of Peck Rd.

      • Native Americans used it to designate crossing of Cuyahoga-Tuscarawas Portage & Cuyahoga Falls

    Glaciated plateau fauna animals
    Glaciated PlateauFauna (Animals)

    • Settlers saw vast forests populated with

      • Wolf, elk, bear, mountain lion (mainly predatory)

    • Today, remaining forests populated with

      • Cottontail rabbit, red fox, raccoon, opossum, skunk, deer, woodchucks, weasel, muskrats (hearty, non-predatory to human species)

      • Birds, both resident and migratory

        • Robin, wood thrush, warblers, ruffed grouse, red tailed and coopers hawks, owls, bald eagles, tree swallows, veery…live on forest edges. Why?

      • Reptiles & amphibians

        • Red-bellied snake, Mountain dusky salamanders

    • Greater variety of landscape = greater diversity

    Till plains geology
    Till PlainsGeology

    • Sedimentary bedrock (Ordovician through Devonian) (500 to 350 million years old)

      • Mainly limestone

      • Smaller areas of shale (youngest rocks present here)

      • Fossil-rich (particularly Ordovician rocks)

        • Marine invertebrates

        • Mainly primitive fish in Devonian rocks

    • Cincinnati Arch was created during Late Ordovician formation of Appalachian mtns (gently slopes, exposing bedrock, particularly in highest areas of arch)

    • Most bedrock covered by thick glacial till

    • Massive erosion (by the Teays River) eroded

      away large portions of bedrock

    Till plains glaciation
    Till PlainsGlaciation

    • Wisconsinan was most recent (peaked 20,000 years ago), traveling southward across the region

    • Advanced & retreated several times, leaving layers of impact

    • Created rolling hills

    • Campbell Hill, Ohio’s highest point, an end moraine

    • Kames & Eskers are extensive in some areas

    • Boulder belts

    • Illinoian glacier (older) left mainly ground moraine in its wake

    Till plains soils
    Till PlainsSoils

    • Miamian soils

      • Loam/Clay loam till (south)

      • Clay rich till (Blount soils) (north)

    • Both high-lime & found in Wisconsinan till

    • Low-lime tills resulting in Alexandrian soils to east

    • Cincinnati soils, from Illinoian till (deeply weathered areas)

      • Eden soils present where bedrock exposed (erosion)

    • Soils here are formed primarily by parent material & time

    Till plains vegetation plants
    Till PlainsVegetation (plants)

    • Settlers saw woodlands, forests & wet prairies

    • Today 95% of land is farm or urban

    • Agriculture mainly seen today

      • Corn, soybeans, wheat

    • 1st growth vegetation almost non-existent

    • Cedar Bog still remains…white cedar wetland

    Till plains fauna animals
    Till PlainsFauna (Animals)

    • Intense farming has led to less diversity

    • Fish

      • Brook trout, chub

    • Amphibians

      • Striped chorus frog, small-mouth & tiger salamanders, cave salamander

    • Reptiles

      • Eastern garter snake, Butler’s garter snake blue racer, northern copperbelly, eastern massasauga, painted turtle

    • Birds (attracted to open fields & plains with forest nearby)

      • Kestrels, eastern meadowlark, horned lark, savannah sparrow, song sparrow, woodcock

      • Region is also a large migratory path for multitudes of birds

    • Small Mammals

    • Insects (Invertebrates)