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50th DPS Meeting Field Trips

Smoky Mountains – Geology of the Appalachians

Saturday, 27 October | 8:00 am – 4:00 pm

This field trip will examine and observe some of the classic Appalachian Mountains region geology within 45 minutes of downtown Knoxville. The morning segment of the field trip will emphasize the bedrock geology and topographic expression of the Tuckaleechee Cove window, one of several limestone windows in the Smoky Mountains. The afternoon segment will view the long-runout landslides (sturströms) in the area near Gatlinburg, Tennessee. Topographic expression of structures and stratigraphy will be discussed.

The field trip will be led by Dr. Robert Hatcher, Distinguished Professor at University of Tennessee and recipient of many awards, including the Marcus Milling Legendary Geoscientist Medal. Dr. Hatcher is perhaps the world’s expert on Appalachian geology, with a very active >50 year research career focused on the Appalachians.

A boxed sandwich lunch is included – you will be able to mark your preference and any dietary restrictions on the registration form as soon as it's open. The field trip will depart from the Knoxville Convention Center at 8:00 am and return to Knoxville no later than 4:00 pm EDT. We can drop attendees directly at the Knoxville airport, if desired. For best viewing, limited walking on uneven terrain will be required.

Cost: $35 per person

Prepare for Your Field Trip

Participants should check the weather before the trip, to see whether to prepare for rain (rain gear) or sunny weather (hat and sunglasses). It will be cool at higher elevations, so bring layers that enable you to be outside of the vans for up to 30 or 40 minutes it stops. There will be opportunities to scramble on rock faces, so sturdy shoes are recommended. Lunch and some drinks are provided, but you may want to bring some extra snacks and water. There may be opportunities for purchasing snacks at one or two of the stops.

We will hand out field trip guides before the trip.

UT requires participants to sign the attached release and consent form. Participants can fill it out, sign electronically, and email to jemery2@utk.edu, or print the form, sign it, and bring it to the field trip. (We will, of course, have forms on hand in case anyone forgets, but it'll be smoother if it's done beforehand.)




Blue Spring Cave

Saturday, 27 October | 8:00 am – 4:00 pm

This field trip will explore Blue Spring cave. With a mapped length of over 40 miles, Blue Spring is the longest cave in Tennessee and the 10th longest in the US. This cave is entirely on private land and has never been a commercial cave, giving us the opportunity to see a majestic cave in its natural state. Attendees will see majestic cathedral rooms and learn why the geology of east Tennessee is so conducive to cave formation.

The field trip will be led by Abby Harmon, a research scientist in the geochemistry lab at the University of Tennessee and an expert on Tennessee caves.

A boxed sandwich lunch is included – you will be able to mark your preference and any dietary restrictions on the registration form as soon as it's open. Blue Spring Cave is located about 95 miles west of Knoxville. The trip will depart from the Knoxville Convention Center at 8:00 am and return no later than 4:00 pm EDT. This trip requires significant walking over rough terrain illuminated only by headlamp, and attendees will very likely get wet and muddy. Caving gear (helmets, lights, etc.) is included.

Cost: $75 per person

Prepare for Your Field Trip

Participants should wear pants and a long sleeved shirt they don't mind getting dirty, and a pair of clothes to change into in case they are too dirty to get back in the van. The temperature should be fairly moderate in the cave. You'll need stable shoes, preferably boots, and maybe a pair of sandals to change into after. Please also bring a backpack that can get dirty and at least 1 liter of water. We will supply trash bags for everyone to put their dirty clothes in after emerging from the cave. We will split into at least two groups, one group will not get wet, one group may get their feet wet if we make it far enough. However, we don't think we'll get that far in the time we have.

We will also require participants to sign the attached release and consent form. Participants can fill it out, sign electronically, and email to jemery2@utk.edu, or print the form, sign it, and bring it to the field trip. (We will, of course, have forms on hand in case anyone forgets, but it'll be smoother if it's done beforehand.)


Blue Spring Cave, TN/ Dave Bunnell
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