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The 2018 Southeastern Section of the Geological Society of America meeting is being held in Knoxville, Tennessee, in April. The spectacular sedimentary and structural geology within, and surrounding, the city makes Knoxville an excellent gateway to launch diverse field trips for the meeting. The overall meeting theme is “Geology at Every Scale,” and associated field trips fit this concept by spanning scales from microbes to mountains, and temporal scales ranging from fast chemical reactions that dissolve limestone to slow geologic processes associated with deformation and metamorphism during mountain building. The chapters in this guidebook are organized according to major geologic themes, starting first with field trips in the Knoxville area that highlight, in some way, local carbonates, and then by ending with field trips focused on regional tectonics that include travel to the Carolinas and Georgia.

Knoxville is situated within the folded and thrust-faulted, unmetamorphosed sedimentary rocks of the Valley and Ridge physiographic and geologic provinces and is located where the Holston and French Broad Rivers join to form the Tennessee River. Knoxville transitioned from its beginnings as a frontier town in the 1700s to a bustling city today by playing an important role in regional politics and commerce, thanks in part to a thriving mining industry early in the city’s history. Tennessee Marble, actually a well-indurated limestone, was quarried for building and monument stone from the 1830s through the 1980s. Recently, production has been at a smaller scale and only one quarry operates today. Chapter 1 by Capito et al. describes the importance of railroads in the East Tennessee Marble industry, and highlights the geology of the Lower and Middle Ordovician carbonates, shales, and sandstones of the Knox and Chickamauga Groups observable during a field trip in Knoxville using the Three Rivers Rambler excursion train.

Regional carbonates are also highlighted in the next four chapters. The field trip described in Chapter 2 by Gibson and Byerly was sponsored by the Southeastern Section of the National Association for Geoscience Teachers. The chapter provides lessons for STEM educators that involve limestone, including activities that develop concepts related to biogeochemical cycling, plate tectonics, paleoecology, and biological evolution. Limestone is also culturally relevant for construction and the arts. Chapter 3 by Miller et al. describes the regional karst landscape, focusing on the caves and karst hydrology of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and nearby Tuckaleechee Cove, including the beautiful Tuckaleechee Caverns. The field trip outlined in Chapter 4 by Keenan et al. centers on nutrient hotspots in the geologic record, with exploration of a large sinkhole complex at Gray, Tennessee, which contains one of the richest late Miocene through Pliocene fossil deposits in the eastern United States, followed by training at a Knoxville curiosity, the Body Farm-the University of Tennessee Anthropology Research Facility. Chapter 5 by Jaret and King highlights another regional curiosity, the Flynn Creek impact structure in Jackson County, Tennessee. It formed in Knox Group and younger Ordovician carbonates and shales, but is filled with flat-lying Upper Devonian Chattanooga Shale and lower Mississippian Fort Payne Formation.

The tectonic history and structural geology of the region are described in the last four chapters. Chapter 6 by Cox et al. describes paleoseismic features in the eastern Tennessee seismic zone, which has the second highest rate of seismicity in the eastern United States. In Chapter 7, Abolins et al. explore macroscale folds and mesoscale structures within the Ordovician through Mississippian strata of the Nashville dome in central Tennessee, and their association with Precambrian or Cambrian rifting in the basement beneath the dome. Chapter 8 by Moecher et al. focuses on the evolutionary history of the eastern Laurentian crust from Blue Ridge basement and younger rocks exposed in the Dellwood-Waynesville-Clyde-Sylva, North Carolina, area. Lastly, in Chapter 9, Merschat et al. detail the structure and tectonics of the southern Appalachians as a two-day field trip. The trip traverses the frontal Blue Ridge in southeastern Tennessee into the Taconic and Neoacadian crystalline cores, also crossing several faults and deformed sutures of the North Carolina Blue Ridge before ending in the migmatitic Inner Piedmont of northwestern South Carolina. The stops, which have been previously described in other field guides, are updated here with new geochronology, geochemistry, and detailed geologic mapping completed by Professor Robert D. Hatcher Jr. and his students.

We thank the authors of the field-guide chapters for their efforts and willingness to share their expertise with others, the reviewers for helping to improve the guides, as well as the Geological Society of America production staff for assistance in bringing this field guide to life.

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