Section 1 south carolina's intriguing landscape (statewide overview) Index Map to Study Sites

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Loggerhead Turtle Caretta caretta
The loggerhead is one of only seven recognized species of marine turtles still in existence today. Adult female loggerheads can weigh as much as 300 pounds, and males may grow even larger. In coastal waters, the loggerhead feeds mainly on whelks (large marine snails), crabs, fishes and benthic organisms (organisms living on the bottom of the sea), such as sponges and algae. The loggerhead’s name refers to the size of its head, which is larger in proportion to its body than that of other marine turtles. One of this species' major nesting concentrations is in the southeastern United States, from North Carolina to Florida. In South Carolina, the primary nesting beaches are between North Inlet and Prices Inlet, but other beaches in the southern part of the state also have moderate nesting densities. These are mainly undeveloped beaches between Kiawah Island and Hilton Head Island.
Adult females come ashore at night to nest from mid-May to mid-August. They may lay several clutches of eggs a season at approximately two week intervals. Turtle tagging studies have shown that females return to nest at a preferred beach on a two year or three year cycle. The female crawls ashore after dark to lay her eggs in the best site, usually a well drained dune with clean sand and scattered vegetation. After depositing the eggs in the nest cavity, the female then replaces the sand over the eggs and disguises the location by throwing sand over the spot with her front flippers. Most hatchlings leave the nest as a group within three minutes of each other, to begin their crawl to the ocean, an important part of their survival.
After hatchlings enter the ocean, human contact with them is lost. It is not known how many years it takes for a hatchling to reach adult size, but some researchers estimate it could be as long as 20 to 25 years. Evidence from tag returns, epifauna (organisms that are attached or grow on the shell), and now from mitochondrial DNA show the adult loggerheads in South Carolina and Georgia are the same stock and they are genetically different from Florida loggerheads. This had important implications for management. If we lose our loggerheads, we will not have recruitment from Florida, even though ten times as many nesting females are there.
The loggerhead was added to both the U.S. and South Carolina List of Endangered and Threatened Species in 1978. It is in the threatened category on both lists. Since the listing, state wildlife biologists have conducted research to learn more about our loggerheads. They have initiated active management to mitigate those factors which negatively impact the turtles and are conducting statewide monitoring of the nesting population to determine if these efforts are successful.
Turtles are primarily impacted by changes in habitat. For example, some coastal beaches were being lined with seawalls or rock revetments to protect property. This was destroying large segments of loggerhead nesting habitat. Since passage of the Beachfront Management Act, hard erosion control structures are no longer permitted and beach renourishment is used instead. This provides dry sand beaches that are beneficial to coastal residents, tourists, and loggerheads. Another danger to loggerheads was the high loss of nests on beaches due to natural erosion, predators such as raccoons and ghost crabs, and some human poachers. Now, thanks to the efforts of many volunteers, nests are moved to safer locations and are screened to keep out predators; poaching is also much reduced over past years.
Developed beaches pose yet another problem for hatchlings. Light from beach facilities will disorient them and cause hatchlings to wander away from the ocean until they die from the sun’s heat, or get crushed on roadways. A final contributor to turtle mortality is the drowning of large numbers of subadults and adults in commercial shrimp trawl nets. South Carolina was the first state to require Turtle Excluder Devices in shrimp trawls. South Carolina was also instrumental in prohibiting the use of hopper dredges when sea turtles are present. Due to high mortality rates caused by hopper dredges, dredging of ship channels is now done during winter when sea turtles are absent.

South Carolina has five distinct landform regions: Blue Ridge, Piedmont, Sandhills, Coastal Plain, and Coastal Zone. Each of these regions has unique landscape features, drainage patterns, soils, vegetation, rocks and land use. The diversity of each of the landforms has greatly influenced the development of trade, industry, agriculture, and transportation across South Carolina. Indeed, the history of South Carolina is woven into the distinctions and relationships among these landform regions. All of these distinct features are economically valuable to the state and all must be used wisely to provide for a secure economic future for South Carolina.
The diversity of the state landforms may be generalized into a rather flat topography we refer to as the Low Country and rolling hills called the Up Country. Historically, this distinction has been marked by differences in the way people have made their living. The Low Country was characterized by large port cities like Charleston (a major trade and shipping center), an aristocratic society with large plantations, and an extensive slave population. In contrast, the Up Country or Upstate was settled by frontiersmen and small farmers of mostly Scotch-Irish background, who had fewer slaves. There was less dependence on large-scale agriculture, and the people were more receptive to a manufacturing-based economy. Recently, tourism has become one of the few economic activities shared by both areas.


Man-made lakes both large and small are located over most of South Carolina. Plan to visit the one nearest your school. Identify the sources of water, type of dam, and means of flood control. How is this lake used?

Many farms, factories, and businesses located near your school depend directly on land resources. Plan a visit to one of these places to determine which resources are used and how disposal of waste products is accomplished.
Ask a geologist in your area, perhaps at a nearby college or university, to lead a field trip explaining the geology of your area.
Visit a farm which practices forest and wildlife management or uses soil and water conservation practices. To make arrangements for a visit to a farm or forest contact your local Soil and Water Conservation District Office. The phone number is in your local telephone directory.


Adams, Lark Emerson, ed. (1979). Journals of the House of Representatives, 1785-1786. Columbia, SC: University of South Carolina Press.

Berlin, Ira,, eds. (1992). Free at Last. A Documentary History of Slavery, Freedom, and the Civil War. New York: The New Press.
Botsch, Carol Sears, et al. (1994). African-Americans and the Palmetto State. Columbia, SC: South Carolina State Department of Education.
Chadwick, Thomas W. (April & July 1947). "The Diary of Samuel Edward Burges, 1860-1862", South Carolina Historical and Genealogical Magazine. Vol. 48. Baltimore, MD: Waverly Press Inc.
Easterby, J.H. (1951). Illustrated Topics of South Carolina History: Transportation in the Antebellum Period. Columbia, SC: Historical Commission of South Carolina.
Edgar, Walter B. (1988) South Carolina: The WPA Guide to the Palmetto State. Columbia, SC: University of South Carolina Press.
Fairey, Daniel A. (1988) South Carolina's Land Resources: A Regional Overview. Columbia, SC: South Carolina Land Resources Commission.
Jones, Lewis P. (1985). South Carolina: One of the Fifty States. Orangeburg, SC: Sandlapper Publishing Co., Inc.
Kovacik, Charles F. and Winberry, John J. (1989). South Carolina: The Making of a Landscape. Columbia, SC: University of South Carolina Press.
Lipscomb, T.W. (1993). South Carolina in 1791: George Washington's Southern Tour. Columbia, SC: South Carolina Department of Archives & History.
Mancke, Rudy. ETV (Producer). (1979). Nature Scene. (Videotape Series). Lesson 1, "South Carolina: From the Mountains to the Sea." Columbia, SC: SC ETV.
Mills, Robert. (1972). Statistics of South Carolina, 1825. Reprint. Spartanburg, SC: The Reprint Company.
(1980). Mills Atlas of South Carolina, 1825. Reprint. Greenville, SC: Southern Historical Press, Inc.
Murphy, Carolyn Hanna. (1995). Carolina Rocks. Orangeburg, SC: Sandlapper Publishing Co., Inc.
Pipes, D. H. ETV (Producer). (1988). South Carolina Geography. (Videotape Series). Lesson 1, "South Carolina in the world." Columbia, SC: SC ETV.
Pipes, D. H. ETV (Producer). (1988). South Carolina Geography. (Videotape Series). Lesson 2, "Railroads, rivers, roads, highways, and regions." Columbia, SC: SC ETV.
Rogers, George C. & Taylor, C. James. (1993). A South Carolina Chronolgy: 1497-1992. 2nd Edition. Columbia, SC: University of South Carolina Press.

Salley, A.S. (1932). President Washington's Tour through South Carolina in 1791. Bulletins of the Historical Commission of South Carolina, #12. Columbia, SC: State Printing Co.

Sloan, Eugene B. (1971) Scenic South Carolina. 2nd ed., Columbia, SC: Lewis-Sloan Publishing Company.
South Carolina Wildlife. (1988). Silhouettes of Carolina: A Portfolio of Natural Areas. Columbia, SC: South Carolina Wildlife and Marine Resources Department's Division of Conservation Education and Communications.
State Board of Agriculture of South Carolina. (1883/1972). South Carolina: Resources and Population, Institutions, and Industries. Charleston, SC: Walker, Evans & Cogswell, Printers, 1883. Reprint. Spartanburg, SC: The Reprint Company, 1972.
Wallace, David Duncan. (1961). South Carolina: A Short History, 1520-1948. Columbia, SC: University of South Carolina Press.
Workman, W.D., Jr. "South Carolina History." The State. 2 & 9 Oct. 1980. Columbia, SC.


Activity 1-1: State Landform Regions



State Base Map #1, Shaded Relief

1 : 500,000


State Base Map #2, with Highways

1 : 500,000





Landform Regions of South Carolina

Figure 1-1


Index Map of Study Sites

Section 1 Title Page


The Geologic Time Scale and South Carolina

Figure 1-6


Geologic Map of South Carolina

Figure 1-7


Geologic Cross-Section of South Carolina

Figure 1-5


Average Annual Temperature

Figure 1-4


Average Annual Precipitation

Figure 1-3


Transparent Grid Overlays


Wipe-off Pens


(Icon Key) Overview = Q; Science = R; Math = :; History = &; Language Arts = ?
1. Investigate the five landform regions. Q

Outline and name South Carolina's five landform regions on the State Base Map #1, Shaded Relief, with a wipe-off pen. Use Figure 1-1, "Landform Regions of South Carolina," as a guide. Note that the landform regions form a pattern of broad parallel bands. What is the direction of these bands? Note also that these regions are parallel to the present coastline. Consider whether you think this is just a coincidence. Suggest several reasons why these parallel bands should exist? Which region is most mountainous? Which is flattest? Which region is most irregular in shape? Which region can be described as having small rolling hills? Which region contains most of the swamps in South Carolina? In which landform region is your school located?

2. Locate the 18 SC MAPS study sites. Q

With a wipe-off pen, mark the approximate location of each study site with a small box on the State Base Map #2, with Highways. Be as accurate as you can. Use the index map at the beginning of the section as a reference. Determine the approximate latitude and longitude of each study site by using the degree ticks in the margin of the state base map.

3. Make a chart listing age, geologic era, and rock type. R Q

Use the GEOLOGIC AND MINERAL RESOURCE MAP and the geologic data presented in the Background Information (Figures 1-5, 1-6, and 1-7) as a resource to make a chart listing basic characteristics for each of the five landform regions. Identify the age, geological era, and major rock type in each region. Why are the rocks in the Blue Ridge and Piedmont mostly metamorphic? Why are the Coastal Plain rocks mostly sedimentary? Why are there so many igneous intrusions, plutons, in the Piedmont? Also determine the age, geologic era, and classification of the rocks underlying the area where your school is located.



Age (years)

Geologic Era

Major Rock Type

Blue Ridge



Coastal Plain

Coastal Zone

My School

On another chart, describe the geologic evolution of the five landform regions and note their differences in regard to surface and sub-surface characteristics such as weathering, tectonics, and erosional processes. Also note, in detail, differences in drainage, topography, elevation, soil types, and land usage.

4. Estimate percentage of state in each landform region. :

There are several methods by which the area of a geographic region can be calculated. Two of these methods are listed below. You may try some other methods as well. Divide into groups so that each method is tried by at least one group. First, with a wipe-off pen, mark the landform regions on the State Base Map #1, Shaded Relief. Then use your assigned procedure to fill in the table below with your numerical area data, then calculate the percentage of the state contained in each landform region. On a separate piece of paper, draw a pie chart (circle graph) depicting the relative percentage of land contained in each of the five landform regions. When all groups have finished, compare your answers with other groups and discuss which method is simplest to carry out, which is quickest, and which gives the most precise answers. Which method would you suggest to estimate the area of your school property?

Group I Estimation using transparent grid overlay

Use the transparent grid overlay to estimate the area of each landform region in square miles. Refer to the scale bar on the map to calculate the number of square miles in one square of the overlay. On the basis of this estimation, calculate the percentage of land in each region. Compare your estimate to the actual area of the state. (Note that the total area of South Carolina is 80,583 square kilometers or 31,113 square miles).

Group II Calculate using areas of geometric shapes

Using the coastline as the base for South Carolina's triangular shape, find the approximate area of South Carolina using the formula (area = 1/2 base x height) for the area of a triangle. Compare your findings with the actual area of South Carolina. Why are these numbers so different? Now find the approximate area of each landform region by approximating other geometric shapes and using mathematical formulas to calculate the area of each.



AREA (sq. mi.)









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