Diverse late middle Miocene dinoflagellate floras, obtained from two sites along the western edge of the Atlantic Coastal Plain in central Virginia, indicate that the eastern Virginia Piedmont was covered by marine waters about 12-13 Ma. This transgression extended farther westward across the Virginia Piedmont than any other transgression that has been documented. Extensive fluvial deposits that may be associated with this transgression covered earlier stream patterns in the eastern Piedmont and buried them beneath a thin (probably less than 100 foot-thick) veneer of sand and gravel. During the subsequent regression, a linear down-slope stream-drainage pattern developed. Although it has been somewhat modified by later stream captures, it still is easily recognizable. This interval of marine inundation and deposition explains why modern stream patterns in the eastern Piedmont of Virginia strongly resemble the stream patterns in the Coastal Plain and differ from the structurally adjusted trellis stream patterns typical of the western Piedmont, Blue Ridge, and Valley and Ridge regions. Uplift of the modern Southern Appalachian Mountains began at the time of this transgression and was largely completed by the late Pliocene.
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Post-middle Miocene origin of modern landforms in the eastern Piedmont of Virginia