Know Ohio: Appalachian Plateau Region

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The Appalachian Mountains are a pretty big deal. Big like they run all the way from Canada down to Alabama. And all along the Western side of those ridges is the Appalachian Plateau. And that's where Ohio comes in.

The Appalachian Plateau makes up a huge land region along the Eastern side of Ohio. A plateau means an area of raised flat land. You're probably most familiar with these kinds of plateaus that you can see in the desert. But ours are a little different.

In the southern half of Ohio's Appalachian Plateau region, there are rugged hills and deep valleys. You can see the unique formations up close in many of the state's parks here like Hocking Hills. Huge sandstone cliffs and deep gorgeous, carved by water makes this a great place to camp and explore. And there are some famous caves here like Old Man's Cave and Ash Cave.

The region's rocks are more than just fun now, they are a big source of industry. The geology of the area is rich in natural resources like oil, gas, and coal, all of which can be used for fuel.

When frontier explorers came through Ohio in the mid-1700s, they took note of the coal deposits. So it wasn't long before coal mining villages popped up. While some coal is taken from the surface of the earth, much of is also dug up from underground. Coal mining can be a dangerous and dirty job but for the workers in the industry, it's a job they are proud to have. And as of 2016, coal is the primary fuel for generating electricity in Ohio. That's according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

What's really unique about Ohio's portion of the Appalachian Plateau though is that if you head north, the terrain changes. Those beautiful rough hills smooth out into flatter land. That's because the ice age glacier that covered Ohio leveled out the top half of the region, thus, our Appalachian Plateau is divided into glaciated and unglaciated sections.

You can see evidence of the glaciers' existence in the kettle hole lakes and bogs that are left behind. The smoother landscape also makes a glaciated region much easier to farm. Here you can find corn, soybeans, fruit orchards, and alike along with agriculture, the area is home to plenty of industrial towns. In their heyday, Akron, Canton, and Youngstown were hubs of manufacturing. Akron, being known for rubber production with the Goodyear Tire Company, while Canton and Youngstown focus on iron and steel.

As you can see, while the Appalachian Plateau is a huge land region in Ohio, it's got some very diverse characteristics that have resulted in the diverse industries and people you can find here today.

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