Maryland as a whole covers a total area of 12,407 square miles, of which more than 7,719 miles of shoreline is available.
Maryland is part of six distinct physiographic provinces: (1) the Atlantic Continental Shelf Province, (2) the Coastal Plain Province, (3) the Piedmont Plateau Province, (4) the Blue Ridge Province, (5) the Ridge and Valley Province, and (6) the Appalachian Plateaus Provinces. These extend in belts of varying width along the eastern edge of the North American continent from Newfoundland to the Gulf of Mexico.
Maryland’s diverse landscape is an expression of her geology. The mountains, valleys, waterfalls, rivers, and dunes, islands and cliffs you see are produced by erosion. Bedrock, soil and sand are sculpted by water, ice and wind over thousands or millions of years to present us with breathtaking vistas throughout the state. Mountains, cliffs and highlands are formed of hard rocks where erosion removes softer surrounding rocks and sediments. Gorges, valleys and caves are the result of water grinding or dissolving away softer types of bedrock and sediments.