Geology Merit Badge
Boy Scout Troop 120

On Saturday, March 24, 2001, John Grabeel, PG and Barry Thacker, PE taught the Geology Merit Badge class for Boy Scout Troop 120 from Lake City, Tennessee.  Where applicable the instruction centered around the geology of the Coal Creek watershed.  After completing the class work, we went on a hike to the abandoned deep mine where convict laborers worked during the Coal Creek War. We also hiked to Militia Hill where Fort Anderson was built during the Coal Creek War.

Click on image to enlarge:

BSAgeol1.JPG (31755 bytes)Geology Merit Badge classroom work.

3Dmapforweb.JPG (26286 bytes)Walden Ridge was formed by a fault that separates the coal-bearing formations of Redoak/Cross/Vowell Mountains from the limestone formations in the Lake City area.

BSAgeol2.jpg (193093 bytes)Geologists use topographic maps to document geologic conditions and create geologic maps.  Contour lines on the map show points of the same elevation above mean sea level.

BSAgeol3.jpg (37589 bytes)Geologic cross-section showing the fault that created Walden Ridge.

BSAgeol4.jpg (89847 bytes)Cross-section showing the hydrologic cycle in the Coal Creek watershed. Water infiltrates into the ground during precipitation events. This water flows downward until it seeps into the abandoned mine works.  Water flows through the mine and discharges at the mine entry at the surface.

photo_1.jpg (7656 bytes)Modern mining must be performed in accordance with strict government standards to protect the environment.

BSAgeol.5.JPG (43161 bytes)Start of the hike to an old mine site that was abandoned prior to enactment of current mining standards.

BSAgeol6.JPG (44502 bytes)Water sampling at the discharge from an abandoned underground mine site.

BSAgeol7.JPG (39155 bytes)Review of results from sampling which show iron concentration on the order of 6 ppm.

BSAgeol8.JPG (48933 bytes)Grave sites of convict miners who died in the abandoned Knoxville Iron Company mine during the time of the Coal Creek War in the 1890s.  The fieldstones marking the graves are sandstone, the rock type that is most resistant to weathering in the watershed.

BSAgeol9.JPG (44899 bytes)Vowell Cascade which formed at the outcrop of a massive sandstone formation that is underlain by shale that is less resistant to weathering.

BSAgeol10.JPG (41838 bytes)Trash dump at the base of Vowell Cascade (future Boy Scout Service project?).

BSAgeol11.JPG (46414 bytes)Trenches around Fort Anderson which was built by the militia during the Coal Creek War.

BSAgeol12.JPG (45292 bytes)Location where the militia fired cans filled with mud into the town of Coal Creek (now Lake City) during the Coal Creek War.  Geology was instrumental in the militia selecting this location for Fort Anderson.  Coal Creek has eroded an outlet through Walden Ridge in the background that can be viewed from the site of Fort Anderson.

BSAgeol13.JPG (43615 bytes)Trash dump on Militia Hill adjacent to the site of Fort Anderson.  One of the things we learned was the reason for proper waste disposal practices.

Tennessee Militia firing cannons from Militia Hill into the Town of Coal Creek during the Coal Creek War of 1892.

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