Cumberland Mountains

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Map showing the Cumberland Mountains

The Cumberland Mountains are a mountain range in the southeastern section of the Appalachian Mountains. They are located in western Virginia, eastern edges of Kentucky, and eastern middle Tennessee, including the Crab Orchard Mountains. Their highest peak, with an elevation of 4145 feet (1263 m) [2] above mean sea level, is Black Mountain, which is located near Lynch in Harlan County, Kentucky.

According to the USGS, the Cumberland Mountain range is 131 miles (211 km) long (211 km) and 20 miles (32 km) wide (32 km), bounded by Russell Fork River on the northeast, Pound River and Powell River on the southeast, Cove Creek on the southwest, and Tackett Creek, Cumberland River, Poor Fork Cumberland River, and Elkhorn Creek on the northwest. The crest of the range forms the Kentucky and Virginia boundary from the Tennessee border to Russell Fork River.

Variant names of the Cumberland Mountains include Cumberland Mountain, Cumberland Range, Ouasioto Mountains, Ouasiota Mountains, Laurel Mountain, and Pine Mountain.


Geology and physiography

The Cumberland Mountains are a physiographic section of the larger Appalachian Plateau province, which in turn is part of the larger Appalachian physiographic division.[1] Oak Ridge National Laboratory (Oak Ridge, Tennessee) is involved with the conservation of the mixed mesophytic forests within the Northern Cumberland Plateau. The conservation organizations include, The Nature Conservancy, the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, and the Natural Resources Defense Council with focus on the Cumberland Plateau.[2]

Further reading


  1. "Physiographic divisions of the conterminous U. S.". U.S. Geological Survey. Retrieved 2007-12-06. 
  2. ORNL Report: Druckenbrod, D.L. and V.H. Dale. 2004. Sustaining the landscape: a method for comparing current and desired future conditions of forest ecosystems in the North Cumberland Plateau and Mountains. ORNL/TM-2004/314. Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, TN. 37 pages. [1] (4/28/2009)

See also

  • Cumberland Plateau
  • "Science In Your Backyard: Kentucky" U.S. Department of the Interior | U.S. Geological Survey, July 3, 2006, retrieved August 27, 2006]
  • [ USGS GNIS - Cumberland Mountain]
  • Sustaining the Landscape: A Comparison of Current and Desired Future Conditions of Forest Ecosystems in the North Cumberland Plateau: Virginia Dale, Dan Druckenbrod, and Lisa Olsen, Environmental Sciences Division, Oak Ridge National Laboratory [3]