Where Is the Atlantic Coastal Plain?

atlantic-coastal-plain Credit: Ken Lund/CC-BY-SA 2.0

The Atlantic coastal plain is on the East Coast of the United States, stretching from Florida all the way north to the Hudson river in New York. This coastal plain passes through Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

The Atlantic coastal plain was formed by the movement of large glaciers that occurred millions of years ago during the Pleistocene Epoch. As the glaciers moved over the land, they bored through rock and deposited gravel and sand over the area, under which are layers of unconsolidated sand and mud. These glaciers also shaped and carved the rocks into moraines, mounds, beaches and islands. The dramatic Atlantic Highlands have gravel deposits caused by this glacial movement that reach between 200 and 373 feet tall. The gravel deposits of the Pine Barrens reach up to 200 feet. Although Maine is not part of the Atlantic coastal plain, the glaciers caused the erosion and rocky shorelines of this state.

The coastal plain is characterized by wet, moist soil. It is liberally dotted with swamplands, marshes and rivers. As a result, there are many fossils preserved in the sediment in the Cretaceous/Tertiary boundary found in the New Jersey region of the Atlantic coastal plain.