Appalachian Trip

Appalachian Field Trips
Tennessee, Kentucky & Virginia

Introduction

The USC Geological Science undergraduates and graduate students take class field trips to examine the geology of the Appalachian Mountains. These include GEOL 325 - Sedimentology and Stratigraphy Basins Class, GEOL 553 - Marine Sediments, and GEOL 751 - Carbonate Petrology visit outcrops exposed along I 26 NC and Tennessee, I 75, Tennessee, I 64 in Kentucky, Rt 9 (AA Hwy), Rt 801, Rt 519 and Rt 23 in Kentucky and Virginia, and Rt 58 in Virginia. This page links to geological outcrops exposed in the Appalachian Mountains of sediments that accumulated in the Paleozoic from the Cambrian through the Mississippian to the Pennsylvanian and Permian. Most of these outcrops are exposed along the interstate and on state highways listed above. Geologists on the East Coast who wish to see road side geology should take advantage of I 26 interstate exposures from South Carolina through Asheville, NC, Johnson City, TN, to Kingsport, TN, which then becomes Rt 23 as a two lane highway cut like cheese through Big Stone Gap, Norton, Wise, Pound, VA, Jenkins to Pikeville, KY, and extending north through Ashland KY. There the AA Highway winds through Kentucky close to the Ohio River to Cincinnati, Ohio. The Image galleries below contain photographs that only partially capture the character of the magnificent road cuts that extend along these highways.

Image Gallery

The galleries of the photographs for the various outcrops can be viewed by clicking on the images that are beside the listed localities or the highlighted text. They track alongI 26 NC and Tennessee, I 75, Tennessee, I 64 in Kentucky, Rt 9 (AA Hwy), Rt 801, Rt 519 and Rt 23 in Kentucky and Virginia, and Rt 58 in Virginia. Maps locate the galleries on their appropriate pages.

ROAD CUT LOCALITIES AND Depositional SystemS
CLICK IMAGE
BORDER-I 26 Blue Ridge Close to the North Carolina and Tennessee border
Metamorphic "melange of different rocks"
I 75 Sixteen miles South of Jellico, Tennessee
Pennsylvanian "Flood delta and back barrier facies"
Route 627 (between I 75 & I 64) vicinity of Winchester, Kentucky:
Ordovician "storm dominated shallow shelf sediments that include mixed Carbonates and clastics" of the Cincinnatian Group
MAYSVILLE - Route 62 (just off AA Highway) west of Maysville, Kentucky:
Ordovician "storm dominated shallow shelf sediments that include mixed Carbonates and clastics" of the Cincinnatian Group
OWINGSVILLE - I 64 East of Lexington between Mt. Stirling & Owingsville, NE Kentucky.
Silurian "Shelf Carbonates & Dolomites" of Brassfield Fm & Devonian Ohio shale
RIBOLT & HERRON HILL - AA Highway east of Maysville, Kentucky:
Silurian "Shelf Carbonates and Dolomites" of the Bisher and Brassfield Formations
SPY RUN & GARRISON - AA Highway east of Maysville, Kentucky:
Devonian "Deeper water clastic fans" of the Berea formation at two localities
I 64 half mile east & north of exit for Morehead, NE Kentucky.
Mississippian"fans and prodelta" of the Borden Formation
801 - Route 801, NE Kentucky, just east of Cave Run Lake.
Mississippian "Deeper water clastic fans" of the Borden formation at one locality
801 - Route 801, NE Kentucky, just east of Cave Run Lake.
Mississippian "Carbonate tidal flats and ooid shoals" of the Newman Formation
BOONE - Route 519, NE Kentucky, just east of Cave Run Lake.
Mississippian "Carbonate tidal flats and Tempestites?" of the Newman Formation
WEIGH STATION - I 64 half a mile south of weigh station, NE Kentucky.
Mississippian "Carbonate tidal flats and channels" of the Newman Formation
MILE 151 - I 64 half a mile north of the weigh station, NE Kentucky.
Pennsylvanian "back barrier storm washover" of the Lee Formation.

I 64 close to the Olive Hill exit, NE Kentucky
Mississippian "ooid shoal facies and orthoquatzite barrier" of Newman formation .

rhythmITES - I 64 a mile north of weigh station, NE Kentucky.
Pennsylvanian "tidal flat " of the Breathitt Group

LOUISA - Route 23 just north of Louisa, NE Kentucky
Pennsylvanian "fluvial facies" of the Breathitt Group

DMB - Route 23 just south of Louisa, NE Kentucky
Pennsylvanian "deltaic facies" of the Breathitt Group have eroded and filled to a coal and seat earth
Route 23 between Louisa and Jenkins, NE Kentucky.
Pennsylvanian "deltaic facies" of the Breathitt Group
POUND GAP - Route 23 at Pound Gap just south and above Jenkins, NE Kentucky.
Devonian through Mississippian to Pennsylvanian "deeper water fans, Carbonate shelf, barrier and fluvial deltaic facies" of the Ohio shale, Bedford shale, Beria Sandstone, Sunbury shale, Grainger, Newman Formations, and Breathitt (Pennington & Lee Formations) Group
Route 58 east of St. Pauls,Virginia
Cambrian "algal mounds and ribbon rock" of the Nolichucky Formation
Route 58 between St Pauls and Lebanon, Virginia
Ordovician "Carbonate shelf margin" of the Rockdell Formation
Route 58 between Lebanon and Hansonville, Virginia
Cambrian "algal mounds and ribbon rock" of the Nolichucky formation
Route 58 south east of Lebanon, Virginia
Cambrian "algal mounds and ribbon rock" of the Nolichucky formation
Photographs along I 26 from South Carolina to Rt 23 and AA Highway in Kentuck
A variety of photographs of trees in bloom and houses and towns. Kentucky giving her best!!


NE Kentucky
Geological Map

Kentucky Geological Section - Schumacher
Blank for measured section

Using only observations that you made during the field trip, you should write a paper (7-10 pages of text) that describes and interprets the Paleozoic sedimentary rocks and Stratigraphy of eastern Kentucky. As part of this paper, you should generate a series of paleogeographic maps that depict the schematic evolution of the Appalachian Basin.

The data you collected should include:

(a) observations, descriptions and interpretations from each of the stops that we visited during the trip, and

(b) the collective composite measured section that you will compile as a class at Pound Gap in the easternmost part of the Basin.

InFormation gleaned from external sources will generally not help your grade—you will be evaluated based on your observations and your ability to effectively interpret and synthesize them using the concepts learned during lecture. Your reliance on literature instead of your noggin' could negatively impact your grade.

Field Work Suggestions

• Take thorough, readable notes. Augment them with sketches or photographs. Record the location of each stop and tie the location to the descriptions in your field book.
• Some stratigraphic units may occur in multiple locations but have different Lithofacies assemblages. Be sure to describe each occurrence separately, but note when different occurrences may be lateral equivalents to one another.
• Your descriptions & interpretations should span several spatial and temporal scales:

( DESCRIPTIONS TO INTERPRETATIONS )
Lithofacies & Lithofacies assemblages to deposional systems [10 it -2 - 101 m; minutes – 100s ka] ‘Formations' and ‘Groups' to Basins [10s – 1000s of m; 100s ka - 100s million years]

• Don't forget Walther's ‘Law.' When a vertical succession of rocks obeys Walther's ‘Law,' you can determine whether Depositional Systems are

(a) prograding (proximal strata overlaying distal strata), or
(b) retrograding (distal strata overlaying proximal strata).

When a vertical succession of rocks does not obey Walther's ‘Law,' there is some exinsic mechanism (usually climate, tectonics or sea-level) at work on the Depositional Systems. Your ultimate goal is to identify these disoBedient changes in Stratigraphy (EX: alluvial-fan conglomerates overlain by shelf Carbonates), and provide plausible explanation(s) (EX: eustatic sea-level rise; decreased convergent tectonic activity).

Paper-Writing Suggestions

• Describe units and Events in chronologic order, from oldest to youngest.
• Don't use a narrative style (EX: ‘First we did this, then we did this, then we had lunch' or ‘Dave said this was this') in your writing. Avoid passive voice.
• Keep descriptions and interpretations separate. ‘Coarse-grained, trough-cross-stratified fining-upwards succession of sandstone' is a description. ‘Fluvial channel deposits' is an interpretation.
• Don't bullshit.

Deliverables

Apaper (7-10 pages of text) that describes and interprets the Paleozoic sedimentary rocks and Stratigraphy of eastern Kentucky with a series of paleogeographic maps that depict the schematic evolution of the Appalachian Basin.

Report should include:

(a) observations, descriptions and interpretations from each of the stops that visited during the trip, and

(b) the collective composite measured section that you compiled as a class at Pound Gap in the easternmost part of the Basin.

Useful Links for this trip

To aid in your write up you might want to the visit the terminology page and look under Parasequence-Shoreline. Also Check the four examples that Van Wagoner et al (1990) provided for coarsening upward Parasequences for a beach; delta; stacked beaches ; and fining upward stacked tidal flats in the terminology section of this site.
Also you might want to search with Google and under the images search look for Sedimentary Structures like Hummocky Cross Beds. Here are some of links that can be currently found:
http://www.earth.rochester.edu/ees201/Bren/Bedforms+Strat.html
http://walrus.wr.usgs.gov/seds/
http://www.stmarys.ca/academic/science/geology/sediments/Bedforms.html
http://www.oswego.edu/Acad_Dept/a_and_s/earth.sci/geo_geochem/G420/oscflow/
http://www.ocean.washington.edu/people/faculty/parsons/OCEAN549B/Bedforms-lect.htm
http://www.colby.edu/~ragastal/GE356/Bedforms.htm
If you search for a little time you will find more.

Student Contributions

Click on the students name to view contributions from the Geology 325 of Spring 2001.

Adams, Danny
Alnaji, Nassir
Jones, Anthony

Friday, March 29, 2013
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