Georgia Geological Attractions and Destinations

01
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Brasstown Bald, Blairsville

Top of the state
Georgia Geological Attractions and Destinations. Photo courtesy Mike Hipp of Flickr under Creative Commons license

Georgia encompasses a great variety of geology from its Atlantic coast to the interior Appalachian Plateau. The state is also a major producer of raw and finished materials from its mines. Here are just some of the many parts of Georgia's geology worth seeing.

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Georgia's highest point, Brasstown Bald is in the Blue Ridge province of the Appalachian mountain belt. It is rich in botanical interest, too.

02
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Cloudland Canyon State Park, Rising Fawn

Flat rock mountains
Georgia Geological Attractions and Destinations. Photo courtesy Martin LaBar of Flickr under Creative Commons license

Cloudland Canyon State Park is in the Appalachian Plateau province in extreme northwestern Georgia. Mountaintops here are actually remnants of a wide plateau.

03
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Fall Line Cities: Columbus, Macon, Milledgeville, Augusta

Geology writes destiny
Georgia Geological Attractions and Destinations. Photo courtesy Sir Mildred Pierce of Flickr under Creative Commons license

These Georgia cities took root where the hard rocks of the Piedmont meet the level ground of the Coastal Plain. (more below)

The rapids of the Savannah River, above Augusta, expose upturned metamorphic rocks at the edge of the Piedmont province. By resisting erosion, they gradually emerged above the easily eroded sediments of the Coastal Plain. The Savannah and Georgia's other major rivers tumble over rapids and falls as they cross the Piedmont. The boats and barges of colonial commerce could navigate no further upriver and had to be unloaded at the Fall Line. At the same time, the rapids were harnessed to power machinery and afford transportation using dams and canals. These steps left the rapids largely dry, but the rocks remain in place. This photo was taken just below the dam that feeds the Augusta Canal, built in 1845 and today a National Heritage Area.

Several other Georgia cities were founded on the Fall Line: Columbus on the Chatahoochee River, Macon on the Ocmulgee, and Milledgeville on the Oconee. The Fall Line extends west into Alabama and north as far as New Jersey.

04
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Gold Mines, Dahlonega

The first gold rush
Georgia Geological Attractions and Destinations. Photo courtesy HerLanieShip of Flickr under Creative Commons license

Dahlonega in 1828 had a classic gold rush leading to prosperity, disruption and a U.S. mint. The Consolidated (shown here) and Crisson mines keep history alive.

05
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Howard's Waterfall Cave, Dade County

A good caver's introduction
Georgia Geological Attractions and Destinations. Photo courtesy Mark Donoher of Flickr under Creative Commons license

This well-known wild cave near Trenton is managed by the Southeastern Cave Conservancy. Review all of the SCC's documentation before attempting a visit.

06
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Panola Mountain State Park, Stockbridge

A fine monadnock
Georgia Geological Attractions and Destinations. Photo courtesy SixTwo Point of View of Flickr under Creative Commons license

Panola Mountain is a granite bald in the Piedmont that meets the definition of a monadnock. The mountain is also a National Natural Landmark.

07
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Pigeon Mountain, LaFayette

A well-laid rock city
Georgia Geological Attractions and Destinations. Photo courtesy Susumu Komatsu of Flickr under Creative Commons license

At Pigeon Mountain sandstones of the Appalachian Plateau fracture and separate by sliding on underlying shale beds to create a rock town or rock city.

08
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Providence Canyon State Park, Lumpkin

A picturesque disaster
Georgia Geological Attractions and Destinations. Gail Des Jardin of Flickr under Creative Commons license

Providence Canyon formed by runaway erosion from poor farming practices in the early 1800s. However, it offers a rare look at Coastal Plain rock units.

09
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Rock City, Walker County

Stony celebration
Georgia Geological Attractions and Destinations. Photo courtesy James Emery of Flickr under Creative Commons license

This fanciful site on Lookout Mountain also has splendid views to the east across Georgia's northern border and to the north over nearby Chattanooga.

10
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Skidaway Island State Park, Savannah

A young barrier island
Georgia Geological Attractions and Destinations. Photo courtesy Ken Ratcliff of Flickr under Creative Commons license

Skidaway Island is one of many barrier islands that protect the Intracoastal Waterway from the Atlantic Ocean.

11
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Soapstone Ridge, Decatur

A carvers' quarry
Georgia Geological Attractions and Destinations. Photo courtesy Jason Reidy of Flickr under Creative Commons license

A soft metamorphic rock valued by the Georgia tribes, soapstone was mined at a site on River Road 8 miles south of Decatur.

12
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Stone Mountain, Atlanta

A splendid granite outcrop
Georgia Geological Attractions and Destinations. Photo courtesy Lee Coursey of Flickr under Creative Commons license

The famous carved granite dome is also a fabulous place to study plutonism, using Pamela Gore's online guidebook to localities off the beaten track.

13
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Toccoa Falls, Toccoa

A gneiss exposure
Georgia Geological Attractions and Destinations. Photo courtesy Holly Anderton of Flickr under Creative Commons license

Toccoa Falls, 57 meters high, is on the campus of Toccoa Falls College. Its bluff consists of biotite gneiss of the Piedmont province.

14
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Vogel State Park, Blairsville

Blue Ridge showcase
Georgia Geological Attractions and Destinations. Photo courtesy Christopher Craig of Flickr under Creative Commons license

Georgia's share of the Blue Ridge Mountains, including Blood Mountain and Lake Trahlyta, is showcased year round at Vogel State Park.