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ABSTRACT

This guide explores relationships among macroscale folds, mesoscale structures, the Nashville dome, and an inferred Precambrian or Cambrian rift in the basement beneath the dome. The Nashville dome, central Tennessee, is an ~12,000 km2 north-northeast–trending, elliptical cratonic uplift. A published crustal density model shows that a previously undescribed Precambrian or Cambrian rift, herein named the Nashville rift, probably runs from northwestern Alabama through the Nashville dome to southern Kentucky. Within the Nashville dome, macroscale folds and mesoscale structures of the Stones River and Harpeth River fault zones have been interpreted previously as the surface manifestation of subsurface normal faults. This road guide describes two previously undescribed inferred subsurface fault zones: the Marshall Knobs fault zone and the Northern Highland Rim fault zone. The Marshall Knobs fault zone, which is ~16.3 km long, is associated with ~35 m of structural relief, trends east-southeast, is down on the north side, and is inside the geophysically defined rift. The Northern Highland Rim fault zone consists of east-northeast–­striking minor normal and reverse faults and a minor strike-slip fault exposed above the western margin of the geophysically defined rift. The authors hypothesize that the Northern Highland Rim fault zone may be the surface manifestation of the subsurface continuation of a macroscale fault previously mapped at the surface 25 km to the southwest. All of the inferred faults fit into a tectonic model in which they originally formed within a rift and later reactivated, accommodating extension of the uppermost crust during uplift of the Nashville dome.

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