The Swabian Jura occupies the region bounded by the Danube in the southeast and the upper Neckar in the northwest. In the southwest it rises to the higher mountains of the Black Forest. The highest mountain of the region is the Lemberg (1,015 m (3,330 ft)). The area's profile resembles a high plateau, which slowly falls away to the southeast. The northwestern edge is a steep escarpment (called the Albtrauf or Albanstieg, rising up 400 m (1,300 ft), covered with forests), while the top is flat or gently rolling.
In economic and cultural terms, the Swabian Jura includes regions just around the mountain range. It is a popular recreation area.
The geology of the Swabian Jura is mostly limestone, which formed the seabed during the Jurassic period. The sea receded 50 million years ago. Three layers of different limestones are stacked over each other to form the range: Black Jurassic, Brown Jurassic, and White Jurassic. White Jurassic may be as pure as 99% calcium carbonate. Since limestone is soluble in water, rain seeps through cracks everywhere and forms subterranean rivers which flow through a large system of caves until they emerge. Thus there are hardly any rivers, lakes or other forms of surface water on the plateau.
In some places, former volcanic activity has left traces, such as maars and hills. In the west, the Zollerngraben (a geological depression in a tectonically active region) sometimes causes mild earthquakes. The Nördlinger Ries is a large meteorite crater (15 million years old).