January 2018 Meeting

Monday, January 8, 2018
6:00 - 7:30 pm

Pellissippi State Technical Community College
10915 Hardin Valley Road, Knoxville
J.L Goins Administration Building
Faculty/Staff Dining Room


Sharps Chapel Area Kimberlite January Field Trip Prelude


Travis A. Paris
Geologist, Retired
Knoxville, Tennessee


The area in the vicinity of the community of Sharps Chapel in Union County, Tennessee contains a number of interesting mineral occurrences. Over the period from the late 1800's to mid 1940's there has been mining of several modest sized lead-zinc deposits and prospecting on numerous lead zinc showings. There was also mining of a single modest sized barite deposit. Prospecting for Silurian age iron ores is evident in a number areas. There is an altered mica peridotite (kimberlite) cropping out at winter pool levels along the north shore of a small embayment on Norris Lake. Prior to filling of the lake two small diamonds were found in mussel bearing shoals downstream from the outcrops. Many of the rivers and streams supported a fresh-water pearl industry prior to damming the rivers and introduction of pollutants in runoff from agriculture and forestry operations.

With continued private development along the lake and surrounding area access to interesting outcrops is becoming difficult. The areas current significance is due to the occurrence of the varied mineral deposits in such a small area.


Travis is a native of Georgia but now lives in the Knoxville, Tennessee area. He developed an early interest in rocks and minerals, which led to his earning a Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degree in Geology from the University of Georgia and later in life, a Master of Business Administration from Lincoln Memorial University. In his early career he spent 16 years as a project geologist exploring for metals and industrial minerals in the eastern U.S. and Canada, where he was in charge of conceiving and executing, or assisting as needed, mineral exploration projects for gold, copper, lead, zinc, talc, magnesite, filler minerals, refractory minerals, fluorite, barite, glass sands, aggregates, and several other commodities. Following geologic exploration, Travis worked with various aggregate and ready-mix concrete industries preparing quarry plans, reserve calculations, mine permits, supervising core, rotary, and impact drilling, and assisting in property management. He has also served as an Adjunct Instructor in Earth Science and in Physical Geology at Lincoln Memorial University in Harrogate, Tennessee and he is a registered/licensed professional geologist in Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama and North Carolina. Travis is currently retired but assumes small projects as a consulting geologist, author, and reviewer.


Page updated May 26, 2018