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By D. Gordon Bennett, Jeffrey C. Patton

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Rising rapidly through these passages, the magma would have poured out onto the surface as lava flows and been ejected as volcanic eruptions. Some of the rising magma cooled and solidified before reaching the surface, forming intruded plutons. If the pluton came near enough to the surface, it would force the overlying rock layers to bulge upward in great arches. In several places on the Piedmont, the granitic cores of these ancient arches have become exposed, as overlying rock layers have eroded away.

During this time, little tectonic activity has been taking place. The primary geologic events occurring have been the wearing down of the mountains and Piedmont by erosion and the subsequent transportation and deposition of the sediment onto the coastal plain by rivers. Located on the Piedmont are numer- ous remnants of the greater mountains that once existed there. These monadnocks exist because they are composed of rock that is harder or less fractured than the surrounding rock. The Coastal Plain—that broad relatively flat surface—has been the recipient of the sediment eroding off of the highlands to the west and of deposits laid down when the sea has periodically covered it.

A thrust sheet is a compressional feature created as rock first fractures; then, one fragment is pushed up and over the other. ) Some geologists believe that the Inner Piedmont Belt represents a piece of North America that was torn from the continent during the Precambrian and then reattached during the Taconic Orogeny. Others believe that it is a piece of exotic terrane that was pushed up onto the North American coast during the Taconic Orogeny (Murphy, 1995). The Brevard and Bowens Faults mark the western edge of the Inner Piedmont Belt and the beginning of the Blue Ridge Province.

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