Trend to crustal deformations which in very early geological time gave a beginning to what later came to be the Appalachian mountain system; but this system had Its climax of deformation so long ago (probably in Permian time) that it has since then been very generally reduced to moderate or low relief, and owes its present altitude either to renewed elevations along the earlier lines or to the survival of the most resistant rocks as residual mountains.
The basins have been variously ascribed to glacial erosion, to obstruction of normal outlet valleys by barriers of glacial drift, and to crustal warping in connection with or independent of the presence of the glacial sheet.
A broad, low crustal arch extends southward at the junction of the Atlantic and Gulf coastal plains; the emerged half of the arch, constitutes the visible lowland peninsula of Florida; the submerged half extends westward under the shallow Florida.
The close of the period was marked by very profound changes which may be classed under three general headings: (1) the emergence of great areas which had been submerged until the closing stages of the period; (2) the beginning of the development of most of the great mountains of the west; (3) the inauguration of a protracted period of igneous activity, stimulated, no doubt, by the crustal and deeper-seated movements of the time.
In North America, the crustal movements at the beginning of the period are less evident than in Europe, but a marked parallelism exists; for in the east, in the Appalachian tract, we find detrital sediments prevailing, while the open sea, with great deposits of limestone, lay out towards the west in the direction of that similar open sea which lay towards the east of Europe and extended through Asia.