Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Episode 173 (8-5-13): River Bluffs, featuring "James and York Bluffs" by Timothy Seaman

Click to listen to episode (2:46).


From the Cumberland Gap to the Atlantic Ocean, this is Virginia Water Radio for the week of August 5, 2013.

This week, we feature an instrumental selection composed by a Williamsburg, Virginia, musician and inspired by the high points near some of Virginia’s lowest terrain.  Have a listen for about 45 seconds.


You’ve been listening to part of “James and York Bluffs,” by Timothy Seaman on his 1998 CD “Celebration of Centuries.”  This tune honors York River State Park, located a few miles north of Williamsburg in James City County, and having—according to the CD’s liner notes—“a paradise of bluffs.”  River bluffs—also called cliffs, heights, palisades, and other terms—are high, steep, broad banks overlooking a river.  They’re found along the James, York, and many other Virginia waterways—from Cedar Bluff on the Clinch River in Tazewell County to Bluff Point on the Potomac River in Westmoreland County.  Wherever they’re found, bluffs are history treasures.  They reveal geologic history in layers of ancient sediments; they’ve been prominent in the human history of many Virginia settlements; and they offer dramatic views of the natural history and heritage of the Commonwealth’s rivers.  Thanks to Timothy Seaman for permission to use this week’s music.

For other water sounds and music, and for more Virginia water information, visit our Web site at virginiawaterradio.org, or call us at (540) 231-5463.  From the Virginia Water Resources Research Center in Blacksburg, I’m Alan Raflo, thanking you for listening, and wishing you health, wisdom, and good water.

[All Internet addresses mentioned were functional as of 8/5/13]

View of a bluff at York River State Park, March 29, 2011.  Photo courtesy of Timothy Seaman.

View from a bluff at York River State Park, November 19, 2010.  Photo courtesy of Timothy Seaman.

Acknowledgments: “James and York Bluffs” and “Celebration of Centuries” are copyright 2005 by Timothy Seaman and Pine Wind Music, used with permission.  Mr. Seaman’s Web site is http://www.timothyseaman.com/.

Sources and more information:
“Glossary of Landform and Geologic Terms,” U.S. Department of Agriculture/Natural Resource Conservation Service, online at http://soils.usda.gov/technical/handbook/contents/part629.html, defines “bluff” as “[a] high bank or bold headland, with a broad, precipitous, sometimes rounded cliff face overlooking a plain or body of water, especially on the outside of a stream meander.”

Information on bluffs along the James River and other rivers in Virginia was taken from the following:
“The Geology of Virginia/Rivers and Watersheds,” William and Mary College Department of Geology, online at http://web.wm.edu/geology/virginia/rivers/rivers.html; and from “James River Water Trail—Lower Section” [map], James River Association, Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, and National Park Service (year not indicated).

Synonyms for “bluff” were found in the Oxford Dictionary and Thesaurus-American Edition, Oxford University Press, 1996.

Information on York River State Park is available online at http://www.dcr.virginia.gov/state_parks/yor.shtml (Virginia State Parks Web site) and http://www.virginiaoutdoors.com/parks/details/york-river-state-park (Explore Virginia Outdoors Web site).

Here are some Virginia locations based on and named for river bluffs:
Balls Bluff (Potomac River, Loudoun County);
Bluff City (New River, Giles County);
Bluff Point (part of Colonial Beach, Potomac River, Westmoreland County);
Bremo Bluff (James River, Fluvanna County);
Cedar Bluff (Clinch River, Tazewell County);
Colonial Heights (Appomattox River, Chesterfield County);
Drewry’s Bluff (James River, Chesterfield County, Civil War battle);
Madison Heights (James River, Amherst County);
Sylvania Heights (Rappahannock River, Spotsylvania County).

Application to Virginia State Standards of Learning (SOLs):

This episode may be useful to support Science SOLs 4.9, 6.7, ES.7, ES.9; and Social Studies SOLs VS.2 and USI.9.

Recent Virginia Water News and Other Information
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