November 2022 Hybrid Meeting (In Person + On-Line)

Monday, November 14, 2022
6:00 - 7:30 pm

Note: ETGS members will receive an email with info for logging into the meeting.

November Presentation
Complete Presentation Here [10 mb]

Valley and Ridge to Blue Ridge Foothills: Transition from the Appalachian Foreland Fold-Thrust Belt into the Outer Metamorphic Core of the Orogen.
Note: Associated Field Trip to be Held on Saturday, December 3rd. Details to Follow.



Dr. Robert D. Hatcher, Jr.
Distinguished Scientist and Professor Emeritus
Earth and Planetary Sciences


The purpose of this field trip is to observe geology in the field. We will be looking at the transition from the external part of the orogen (Valley and Ridge foreland fold-thrust belt) to the inner parts (metamorphic core composed of a composite of North American and exotic pieces). Similar--but not identical--transitions exist in other major mountain chains in the world regardless of whether or not they formed by continent-continent collision, like the Appalachians, Alps, Caledonides, Urals, and Himalayas, or like the accretionary North American Cordillera and Andes, which extend from Alaska to southern Chile. Our primary purpose is to observe the differences in the transition by visiting the individual exposures from Walland, Tennessee, into the Townsend area to several along Chilhowee Lake in southeastern Tennessee.

We will visit but one exposure of Valley and Ridge rocks, a long and important exposure of Middle Ordovician Sevier Shale that is terminated to the SE by the Great Smoky thrust, which has a conservative 400 km of displacement. The Sevier Shale represents the clastic wedge derived from the SE, from erosion of the rising Taconic mountains. At the Great Smoky fault, Lower Cambrian Chilhowee Group sandstones are thrust over the Sevier Shale. In contrast to much of the literature, the Chilhowee is not metamorphosed here, nor is the overlying Shady Dolomite, our second stop. The Chilhowee Mountain block is juxtaposed against the Miller Cove fault, and once we cross it toward Stop 3, we will be in low grade metamorphic rocks of the Neoproterozoic Walden Creek Group, where we will make several stops. Once we cross the first area of Neoproterozoic rocks, we will enter Tuckaleechee Cove, where we will look at a second exposure of the Great Smoky fault, then make a stop in some of the Knox Group limestone in the Tuckaleechee Cove window. We will then go the far East end of Tuckaleechee Cove window to a third exposure of the Great Smoky fault, then return back to the Foothills Parkway where we will drive SW, stopping for lunch along the way (no looking at scenery permitted!), on our way to exposures along US 129, which will contain some interesting folds and sedimentological features (e.g., armored mudballs). The trip will end at Chilhowee Dam.


Education: Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee B. A. 1961 (majors: geology, chemistry; minor math), M. S. 1962 (geology)
University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Tennessee Ph. D. 1965 (structural geology; two foreign languages required)

Professional Employment: Geologist, Humble Oil and Refining Company (1965-66), Clemson University (1966-78, Assistant Professor to Full Professor), Florida State University (1978-80, Full Professor), University of South Carolina (1980-86, Full Professor), and University of Tennessee-Knoxville and Oak Ridge National Laboratory Distinguished Scientist (1986-2000), UT Distinguished Scientist and Professor (2000-2018). University of Tennessee Distinguished Scientist and Professor Emeritus 2018- Present.

Research Interests: Primary research goal is to gain a better understanding of the evolution of continental crust, mostly through the study of mountain chains and mature crust. Most of my research has been concentrated in the southern and central Appalachians, but large amounts of time have been spent visiting and studying other mountain chains, and Precambrian continental crust. My primary interest is in the mechanics and kinematics of large faults, which form a natural transition into a related long-term interest in the geologic controls of petroleum occurrence in the Appalachians, radioactive waste management, the causes of intraplate seismicity and geologic evidence for determination of recurrence intervals for intraplate earthquakes. While I am a structural geologist, most of my research is interdisciplinary, integrating stratigraphic, geochronologic, geochemical, and geophysical data into structural studies. I am primarily a field geologist, however, and field data form the basis for all other supporting studies. I have been involved for many years with geophysicists and geologists in other academic institutions and the USGS in the geologic interpretation of seismic reflection and potential field (aeromagnetic and gravity) data.

Research Support: Received over $5M in grants and contracts from the National Science Foundation, Nuclear Regulatory Commission, U.S. Department of Energy, U.S. Department of the Interior, state geological surveys, and private industry.

Professional Service (Abbreviated): Editor (with W. A. Thomas) Geological Society of America Bulletin (1982-88); President, Geological Society of America (1993); President, American Geological Institute (1996); Trustee, GSA Foundation (1999-2007), Chair of the GSA Foundation Board (2005-07); National Academy of Sciences/National Research Council Board on Radioactive Waste Management (1990-96); Federal Advisory Committee on Nuclear Reactor Safety Research (Nuclear Regulatory Commission, 1993-96); Federal Advisory Committee for the National Cooperative Geologic Mapping Program (Department of the Interior, 1996-2006); Federal Advisory Committee Oak Ridge Site Specific Advisory Board (2009-2015; have also served on numerous committees of GSA, AAPG, AGU, and other organizations. Fellow: AAAS, Geological Society of America, Geological Association of Canada.

Medals and Awards: Geological Society of America Distinguished Service Award (1988, the first ever awarded), AAPG I. C. White Award (1997), honorary citizen of West Virginia (by the Governor, 1998), John T. Galey Award by the Eastern Section of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists (2001), American Geological Institute Ian Campbell Medal (2006), Geological Society of America Penrose Medal (2006), and American Geological Institute Marcus Milling Legendary Geoscientist Medal (2014). The latter three medals constitute the highest levels of career recognition/achievement possible in my profession.

Publications: Author or co-author of >200 scientific publications, including 10 books.

Graduate Students: 53 M. S. theses and 18 Ph. D. dissertations completed since began working in graduate departments in 1978




Page updated November 14, 2022