November 2023 Meeting

Monday, November 13, 2023
6:00 - 7:30 pm

For those attending in-person
this meeting will be held at the following location:
Pellissippi State Community College
Ned R. McWherter Technology Building, Room 129

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

November Presentation

Karst hydrologic investigations in carbonate fensters of the western Great Smoky Mountains



Ben Miller, USGS Nashville, TN


A series of carbonate fensters are located in the western portion of the Great Smoky Mountains in Tennessee. These fensters expose the Ordovician Jonesboro Limestone and Blockhouse Shale through "windows" in the hanging wall of the Great Smoky Fault. The fensters create opportunities for allogenic recharge to the karst aquifer of the Jonesboro Limestone. The three largest fensters are Tuckaleechee Cove, Cades Cove, and Wear Cove, all of which have significant karst features that vary by site. For the past several years the U.S. Geological Survey has been conducting karst hydrologic studies in each of the major fensters to better understand the hydrologic processes in each cove and help characterize the karst flow systems. These studies have included seepage investigations to characterize and quantify streamflow gains and losses, hydrologic monitoring of cave streams and springs, and dye tracing to delineate recharge areas and determine karst groundwater velocities. Ben Miller, a karst hydrologist with the USGS in Nashville will present on the work conducted in the Great Smoky fensters and will summarize research findings that will be used to help protect these unique and vulnerable environments.



Ben Miller is a karst hydrologist with the U.S. Geological Survey in the Lower Mississippi-Gulf Water Science Center in Nashville, Tennessee. Ben's work includes recharge area delineation for caves and springs using dye tracing, seepage investigations examining surface water-groundwater interactions, hydrologic monitoring, and hydrologic studies coupled with biological inventories. Ben holds a Masters Degree in Hydrology and Geomorphology from Western Kentucky University with an emphasis in karst hydrology and a Bachelors Degree in Natural Resource Recreation Management from University of Missouri-Columbia. Ben serves on the board for the Cave Research Foundation, the Karst Waters Institute, and the Tennessee Cave Survey. Ben is also a lifelong avid caver and cave mapper, having surveyed and drafted cave maps for over 500 caves in 13 states and 6 countries.


Greetings! We hope you will join us for the next ETGS in-person/virtual meeting, and that you, your family, and your colleagues are staying healthy and well. 

As a courtesy, please mute your cell phone or the microphone in your laptop/tablet to minimize background noise and feedback echoes. We will try to mute all participants until the presentation is finished. Please use the chat feature to type comments or questions during the presentation. We recommend that you send questions for the speaker to "everyone" so all participants can see the question. After the presentation, the speaker will answer questions.  During this Q&A period, you may unmute if you wish to ask a question verbally.

We will create an attendance list based on the participant names we can see during the meeting. This is helpful for those who need to document participation to support Professional Geologist registrations. It is not always possible to tell who is participating, especially for those joining by phone, so please email your name to etgs@live.com to be listed on the attendance sheet. Let us know exactly how your name should appear on the list.

Thank you for your patience and understanding as we continue adapting to this hybrid format. As always, we welcome and appreciate your feedback and suggestions for improvement.


ETGS News:

  • New ETGS mugs are available! If you would like to purchase a mug or stein, email etgs@live.com and include "ETGS Mug" in the subject line.


ETGS Coffee & Beer Mugs...

Sure to be a collector's item!

We look forward to seeing you at the next meeting.

ETGS is a volunteer organization. We need your help to continue serving those interested in the geology of East Tennessee and beyond. Please email us at
etgs@live.com if you would consider assisting in one of the following open positions. It is a great opportunity to expand your personal and professional network.

Tony McClain

Vice President
David Carlone

J. Brad Stephenson

Seaira Stephenson

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Bob Gelinas



Page updated October 27, 2023