PAPER - FYS Geology Field Trip to the Blue Ridge Mountains...

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FYS Geology Field Trip to the Blue Ridge Mountains The region of eastern Tennessee and western North Carolina is an area with a spectacular history of geologic events. With close observation, it is seen that the vicinity contains various examples of igneous, metamorphic and sedimentary rocks in close proximity to each other. The existence of such diverse rocks that are somewhat adjacent provides a puzzle that can only be solved through examination, gathering data and finally drawing conclusions. The out crops viewed range from the Precambrian to the Paleozoic eras, which translates to about 1.2 billion years up to 377 million years ago. The history of tectonic activity seen throughout the in both North Carolina and Tennessee is exemplified by fractures and rough surfaces which are attributed to faults and varying types of plate boundaries. Violations of the Principle of Superposition can be blatantly seen, yet explained due to the activity that occurred in the region. Overall, western North Carolina and eastern Tennessee provide an array of mysteries that can slowly but surely be pieced together to form a near-complete geologic historical story. Stop One is a massive outcrop stretching hundreds of feet across and extending about twenty feet high. Taking a quick look, it is apparent that there is more than one type of rock mixed together. On the right half of the entire outcrop is a peculiar region that stood out the most. There is a huge portion of reddish-brown rock, entirely made up of huge layers slanted upwards. Within the rock there are a lot of visible crystals, large sized ones sandwiched by smaller ones on the top and bottom. In the middle of the reddish-brown rock, there is a nine-foot wide, dark grey rock. It is a fractured section of rock, with visible feldspar crystals of a pretty large size, especially in the middle, while smaller crystals encompass the outer edges of the rock. 1
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This is easily explained because the middle part of an extremely hot rock would take a much longer time to cool than the outer part would. In contrast to the surrounding rock, this one’s cracks are sloped downward. The outermost rock is actually dated to the Precambrian era, formed as long as 1.2 billion years ago. At one time it existed as igneous rock, because it has visible crystals, and then was metamorphosed. The explanation of the igneous rock splitting into the metamorphic rock follows the Principle of Cross Cutting Relations, which states a rock that cuts into another rock should then be younger. This interrupting mass is actually igneous, and it cooled in a two-stage process, at first slowly underground, then fairly quickly after it was injected upward into the preexisting rock. Due to its characteristics that were observed, the igneous rock is identified as basalt and it is approximately 734 million years old (still in the Proterozoic eon). The original metamorphic rock was developed at a convergent plate boundary there, and then as the plates diverged the basalt was finally pushed up. The situation described
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PAPER - FYS Geology Field Trip to the Blue Ridge Mountains...

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