March 2014 Meeting

Monday, March 10, 2014
6:00 - 7:30 pm

Pellissippi State Technical Community College
10915 Hardin Valley Road, Knoxville
J.L Goins Administration Building, Cafeteria Annex



Karst Geohazards in East Tennessee:
Examples of Highway Development in Karst Areas

Harry L. Moore
Golder Associates
(Retired TN DOT Geologist)
Knoxville, Tennessee


Designing and constructing a stable highway infrastructure across karst can be quite challenging and requires an in depth study of the karst regime. Planning new roadway corridors can be aided by the mapping of karst areas and karst features. Subsidence, collapse, flooding and groundwater contamination tend to be the major hazards associated with the karst landscape. Proactive approaches regarding karst geohazards include avoidance, minimizing impact, and mitigation.

East Tennessee, with its abundance of carbonate strata, hosts numerous areas of karst including features such as sinkholes, caves, sinking streams, and numerous subsurface streams. Karst landscapes in East Tennessee tend to be linear in shape, mimicking the structural trend of the regional bedrock. Most of the East Tennessee karst is developed in the Valley and Ridge province and is generally elongate parallel to the strike of the folded strata, most typically a northeast-southwest trending pattern.

A number of the caves in East Tennessee are quite large and display beautiful speleothems as well as an abundant cave life. In addition, subsurface streams can be found in a large number of the cave systems.


Harry Moore is currently a Senior Consultant with Golder Associates. Previously, he worked for the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) for 37 years, 17 of which managing the TDOT Geotechnical Engineering Office in Knoxville. Harry Moore holds Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in geology from University of Tennessee – Knoxville. He has authored four books and numerous technical papers dealing with karst, landslides, and other geotechnical issues related to highways.


Page updated May 26, 2018