Evolution and the evidence around Dayton, Tennessee
Published:January 01, 2015
William D. Witherspoon, Michael A. Gibson, Don W. Byerly, 2015. "Evolution and the evidence around Dayton, Tennessee", Diverse Excursions in the Southeast: Paleozoic to Present, Ann E. Holmes
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Dayton, Tennessee, the site of the 1925 Scopes evolution trial, is surrounded by a rich natural museum of Paleozoic sedimentary rocks that exemplifies Earth history literacy principles, in accord with those identified in the Next Generation Science Standards. A guide for a loop drive from Chattanooga to Dayton and Sequatchie Valley combines a visit to the site of the trial, analyzing its lessons for science educators, with a tour of sites where, with minimal jargon, evidence for the following principles is demonstrated:
Sedimentary structures such as mud cracks and crossbeds record processes similar to those that deposit sediment in modern environments.
Strata can be divided into rock units recognized over great distances.
Fossils and their modes of preservation document the history of life, and give evidence of past environments.
A succession of thousands of feet of sedimentary rock records hundreds of specific changes in sediment supply, water depth, and climatic conditions.
The fact that diverse environments near sea level are recorded in great thicknesses of rock is powerful evidence of slow gradual subsidence, as opposed to a single flooding event followed by rapid sedimentation.
Recorded changes in sediment supply and water depth provide evidence of the rise and erosion of nearby land, as well as continual moderate fluctuations in sea level.
Originally horizontal rock layers have been disturbed in systematic ways traced to specific past plate tectonic events.
These concepts were developed, in part, to help find mineral resources, and they prove their predictive value daily, for example, in locating deeply buried petroleum.
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Diverse Excursions in the Southeast: Paleozoic to Present
This volume includes nine field trip guides that explore geological history and visit four regional geologic provinces—Blue Ridge, Valley and Ridge, Cumberland Plateau, and the Nashville dome. Two guides focus on the Cumberland Plateau structure and hydrology. Two explore aspects of the Nashville dome, including Mississippian Waulsortian mounds and meso-scale structural deformation. Various aspects of the Valley and Ridge are visited on three trips, including the 1925 Scopes trial in Dayton, Tennessee, structural aspects of the Sequatchie Valley, and regional Silurian Red Mountain/Rockwood stratigraphy. Two field trips explore features of the Blue Ridge province—one investigates southernmost Appalachian exposures of metamorphosed lower Paleozoic rock, and another focuses on the Appalachian geomorphological response to uplift during the late Cenozoic.