New River Gorge West Virginia
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New River Gorge, West Virginia

November 21, 2004
In southern West Virginia, the New River carves a rugged, steep-sided gorge through a plateau of ancient sandstone and shale. From its headwaters high in the mountains of North Carolina, the New flows northward hundreds of miles through Virginia and into West Virginia. The name is unintentionally ironic because the New is probably one of the oldest rivers in North America. In West Virginia, the New River (running south to north through image center) has sliced a canyon that reaches 1,600 feet at its maximum depth, exposing layers of rock created more than 300 million years ago. The “puckered” look of the canyon walls at various locations highlights the ruggedness of the terrain; the puckers are numerous ravines that serrate the canyon rim. The image above was created from data collected by the Landsat 7 satellite's Enhanced Thematic Mapper Plus (ETM+) instrument.

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