2005 Salt Lake City Annual Meeting (October 16–19, 2005)

Paper No. 3
Presentation Time: 2:00 PM


KINGTON IV, Joe, HARRISON, Michael, KNOX, Larry and MILLS, Hugh, Dept. of Earth Sciences, Tennessee Tech University, PO Box 5062, Cookeville, TN 38505, jdkington21@tntech.edu

     Burgess Falls is a 1.4 km2 State Natural Area located approximately 20 km southwest of Cookeville, Tennessee. The park is located along the escarpment of the Eastern Highland Rim, a region of middle Tennessee characterized by tablelands, scattered hills and knobs. Within the park, Falling Water River spills over three waterfalls and numerous cascades. The largest of the waterfalls drops 35 meters into a narrow gorge. In addition to the waterfalls, the park has a complex geomorphic history that involves the capture of a master stream by its own tributary.

     Tennessee State Parks provide excellent recreation, but they are also intended to be educational. Recently, the Earth Sciences Department at Tennessee Technological University, at the request of the park superintendent, created a permanent display on the geology and geomorphology of the park. The display includes maps depicting the paleogeography of the continents, common fossils found in the rocks, and a satellite image showing a modern analogue for the depositional environment of the Paleozoic rocks within the park. The stream capture was illustrated using GIS-based reconstructions of the paleotopography.

     The park's proximity to Cookeville and Tennessee Tech campus makes it a popular day-trip destination for University students and residents of the Upper Cumberland region. Thus, the park is an ideal site to educate people about the local geology.