The Last Billion Years: A Geologic History of Tennessee

The Last Billion Years: A Geologic History of Tennessee

by Don W. Byerly


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Tennessee’s geologic history has evolved in myriad ways since its initial formation more than a billion years ago, settling into its current place on the North American supercontinent between 300 and 250 million years ago. Throughout that long span of “deep time,” Tennessee’s landscape morphed into its present form.
The Last Billion Years: A Geologic History of Tennessee is the first general overview in more than thirty years to interpret the state’s geological record. With minimal jargon, numerous illustrations and photographs, and a glossary of scientific terms, this volume provides the tools necessary for readers with little or no background in the subject to learn about the geologic formation of Tennessee, making it an excellent resource for high school students, college students, and interested general readers. Yet, because of the depth of its scholarship, the book is also an invaluable reference for professional geologists.
Recognizing that every reader is familiar with the roles of wind, water, gravity, and organisms in their everyday environment, author Don Byerly employs the Earth Systems Science approach, showing how the five interacting parts of the Earth—the geosphere, hydrosphere, atmosphere, biosphere, and cryosphere—have worked together for eons to generate the rock compositions that make up Tennessee’s geologic past.
All regions of the state are covered. Featuring a unique time chart that illustrates the state’s geologic history from east to west, The Last Billion Years shows that while the geologic aspects of the state’s three grand divisions are related in many ways, each division has a distinctly different background. The organization of the book further enhances its usability, allowing the reader to see and compare what was happening contemporaneously across the state during the key sequences of its geologic history. Written in a clear and engaging style, The Last Billion Years will have broad appeal to students, lay readers, and professionals.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781572339743
Publisher: University of Tennessee Press
Publication date: 12/20/2013
Edition description: 1
Pages: 212
Sales rank: 1,192,894
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.60(d)

About the Author

Don W. Byerly is professor emeritus of geology at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. A founding member of the Tennessee Earth Science Teachers, he is the recipient of the 1999  Neil Minor Award, the prestigious award of the National Association of Geoscience Teachers, for exceptional contributions to the stimulation of interest in the earth sciences, the 1999 Tennessee Science Teachers Association’s Distinguished Service Award, and the Tennessee Conservation League’s 2000 Z. Carter Patten Award for distinctive service to the cause of conservation.

Table of Contents

Preface xiii

Ackowledgments xv

Chronological Outline of Tennessee Geology xvi

1 The Geologic Setting of Tennessee 1

2 A Dynamic Planet 13

3 Building a Record: Earth Materials and Processes 21

4 Geologic Time 41

5 Giants of Tennessee Geology 47

6 Supercontinents, Continents, and Terranes 51

7 The Record 55

8 Deepest Time in Tennessee 61

9 Sauk Sequence 67

10 Tippecanoe Sequence 89

11 Kaskaskia Sequence 101

12 Absaroka Sequence 109

13 Alleghanian Orogeny 115

14 Breakup of Pangea 127

15 The Last 250 Million Years 129

16 Natural Resources 161

Afterword 177

Glossary 179

Bibliography 195

Index 203

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