A Little Mountain State Secret Most Don't Know: There is a 400-Million-Year-Old Ocean under West Virginia

Did you know there’s a 400-million-year-old ocean beneath West Virginia? It’s called the Iapetus Ocean, and it lies underneath the beautiful Appalachian Mountains. The Iapetus Ocean, which predates the Atlantic Ocean, was named after a Greek Titan. It was ultimately shifted by geological forces and driven underground beneath the Appalachian Mountains.


During the 1700 and 1800s, the state had a thriving salt industry, and at one time, the Kanawha Valley was the largest salt producing region in the country. The area produced award-winning salt thanks to the Iapetus Ocean and the salt furnaces found all around the Kanawha Valley.


Today, this ancient ocean continues to present a unique opportunity to a business in the Kanawha Valley area of the state. Brother and sister Nancy Burns and Lewis Payne, who are 7th– generation salt-makers, own J. Q. Dickinson Salt-Works. They harvest their all-natural salt by hand on their family’s 200-year-old farm in Malden. J. Q. Dickinson’s brine is naturally sourced from the Iapetus Ocean and hand harvested, which makes for an organic, naturally derived artisanal salt.


You can visit J. Q. Dickinson Salt-Works’ stunning family farm, learn about their natural salt making process and their history in the salt making industry as well as taste their amazing natural salt.

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