Geologic Excursions in the Southern Appalachians, Tennessee, North Carolina, Georgia, and South Carolina

Department of Geology

University of Alabama

November 14-17, 1997

Geologic Stops

The following field trip guide was compiled and written by the student participants in the Department of Geology, University of Alabama Seminar in Regional Geology -- GEO 490/590, Fall semester 1997. The trip focuses on five geologic features in the Southern Appalachian orogen:

An Account of the Field Trip

The weekend of the GEO 490/590 trip began on one of the coldest Fall days of the year. Friday Nov 14 was wet and the temperature hovered in the thirties throughout the day. The route from Tuscaloosa was north on Interstate 59 to Chatanooga TN, then north on US 127 to Lookout Mountain and Dunlap, and finally Highway 8 west to an outcrop of the Cumberland décollement. After a long look at the outcrop we drove north to Fall Creek Falls State Park to camp in the freezing rain. Saturday dawned cloudy and cold and we drove east across the Valley and Ridge on highways 30 and US 11 to Maryville, TN. From there we drove southeast on US 321 and stopped to examine deformation of the Shady Dolomite and Chillhowee Group along the Great Smoky Fault outside Tuckaleechee Cove. Then we drove southwest on the Foothills Parkway up to the summit of Chillhowee Mountain to view the Smoky Mountains and Valley and Ridge. We back tracked to Tuckaleechee Cove then drove southeast, examined the Ocoee Supergroup along the highway, and then crossed the Little River to look at the Shady Dolomite in Tuckaleechee Cove. The group spent a cold, but pleasant Saturday night at the Cades Cove campground in Great Smoky Mountain National Park. At dawn on Sunday we drove southeast through the snow at Newfound Gap, then southwest on US 19 through Murphy to the Ocoee Gorge. We examined the Great Smoky Fault at Parksville Dam, then turned back to the east to look at cleavage and folding at Maddens Branch. We followed US 64 east to Chunky Gal Mountain and Winding Stair Gap where we were faced with blowing snow and an ice covered outcrop. After a night in a motel [without electricity much of the night] in Franklin we drove south on highway US 411 to Clayton, GA. From there, we drove east on US 76 to the Chatooga River where we paused to examine eastern Blue Ridge rocks at the bridge before continuing to Woodall Shoals to look at superposed folds. After a wonderful morning at Woodall Shoals, we returned to Tuscaloosa via US 23, and Interstate 20.


The following faculty and students participated in the four day trip on November 14-17, 1997:


The cover map and cross section for this guidebook are modified from Hatcher (1993) and Suppe (1985), respectively.


  1. An Overview of the Southern Appalachians -- H. Stowell

  2. Folds and Cumberland décollement, Appalachian Plateau, Dunlap, TN -- D. Hawkins

  3. Great Smoky Fault, Tuckaleechee Cove Window, Blue Ridge Thrust Sheet, NC -- B. Chace

  4. Great Smoky Fault and Structures in the Ocoee Group, Ocoee Gorge, TN -- C. Cates

  5. High grade metamorphism in the Blue Ridge, Chunky Gal Mountain, NC -- J. Oriol

  6. Granulite facies metamorphism in the Blue Ridge, Winding Stairs Gap, NC -- D. Tinkham

  7. Overprinting structures in the Blue Ridge, Woodall Shoals, SC -- M. Cox