The area studied, mostly in the headwaters of the Shenandoah River, Augusta and Rockingham Counties, Va., includes about 55 square miles of densely forested mountain land and has an average relief of about 1,500 feet. It is part of an area that in June 1949 was subjected to a violent cloudburst which damaged large tracts on slopes and bottom lands. Most of the area is underlain by flaggy arkosic sandstone and interbedded reddish shale of the Hampshire formation of Devonian age. The highest ridges are capped by massive sandstone of the Pocono formation of Mississippian age. In most of the area the rocks dip gently to the southeast but in the northwestern and southeastern parts they are folded into synclines that localize northeastward-trending ridges.