Sandhills are found on the fall line in Georgia and along the northern and eastern banks of large Coastal Plain streams in Georgia, Alabama, Florida, and North and South Carolina. They are distinct both as a landform and in the types of vegetation they support. Visually, the sandhills are often striking
Fall-line sandhills differ in origin from the riverine sandhills of the Coastal Plain. Sandhills of the fall line date from the Miocene Epoch (about 25 million years B.C.), when they formed the ancient coastline of the Atlantic Ocean. Riverine sandhills, smaller in extent and less continuous in occurrence, formed when sand from exposed river bottoms was deposited on the northeast banks of Coastal Plain rivers and streams during the Holocene (8,000 years ago to present) and Pleistocene (1.8 million to 8,000 years ago) eras. Dune soils are 95 percent quartz sand and are nutrient-poor, highly permeable, and extremely low in water-holding capacity.
Because sandhills are very unproductive sites, in the past most were maintained as islands of native vegetation. Since the mid-twentieth century, however, many sandhills, both fall line and riverine,
A. H. Ivester, D. S. Leigh, and D. I. Godfrey-Smith, "Chronology of Inland Eolian Dunes on the Coastal Plain of Georgia, USA," Quaternary Research 55 (2001): 293-302.
H. W. Markewich and W. Markewich, An Overview of Pleistocene and Holocene Inland Dunes in Georgia and the Carolinas: Morphology, Distribution, Age, and Paleoclimate, U.S. Geological Survey Bulletin no. 2069 (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1994).
Charles H. Wharton, The Natural Environments of Georgia (Atlanta: Georgia Department of Natural Resources, 1978).
J. P. Schmidt, University of Georgia
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