A Handbook of Northern France

By William Marris Davis | Go to book overview

CHAPTER VII
THE REGION OF THE Meuse

36. The Fourth Upland Belt: Southern Part. The fourth upland belt has a greater length and in its middle a greater breadth than any other; it is recognizable, though imperfectly developed, along the northern border of the Central Highlands west of the broad valleys of the Loire and the Allier; while to the east of those valleys it is a well defined lineament, although cut apart by many streams, through all the 350 k. of its rounded northward course, Fig. 24, which leads it nearly to the Ardennes. Its limestones are less pure and their forms are less bold than those of the fifth belt; its cross profile as a whole is gracefully but unsymmetrically arched; its eastfacing scarp is delicately scalloped and its gray frontal slopes are generally cleared; its broad upland and long descending slope are usually carved into rounded hills, many of which are too dry for repaying cultivation and are therefore largely left to tree growth.

Railways follow nearly all the many cross-valleys, of which the northernmost is that of the Marne, that traverse the southern part of the fourth upland belt; hence these railways, river-like, converge and unite on their way toward the metropolis at the center of the upland arcs; but here a circumferential railway also is seen, following the inter-upland depression between the fifth and fourth belts through the southern half of its long curve, because of the importance given to it by its breadth, for the crests of the fifth and fourth belts are 40 k. apart in the south. The depression between them is moderately trenched across by all the rivers that traverse it.

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