Paper No. 96-26
Presentation Time: 9:00 AM-6:30 PM
PETROGRAPHIC CONTROLS ON PASSAGE DEVELOPMENT IN RUSSELL CAVE, ALABAMA
The karst region of Tennessee, Alabama, and Georgia (TAG), is formed in Mississippian-age limestone and dolostone rocks affected by chemical weathering. In this region, we visited, sampled, and re-surveyed specific passages of Russell Cave, Jackson County, Alabama, in order to determine any geologic controls on passage development and morphology. The goal of this project is to use thin-section microscopy to examine the facies of the carbonate rocks in order to determine the depositional environment, any facies changes, and if the rock composition and texture change in different parts of the cave. This will help in determining the geologic conditions that may have led to the formation of Russell Cave, and how the makeup of these rocks relates to passage distribution. This research highlights the importance of understanding karst region’s geologic framework and how determining geology can play a key role in appreciating the formation of caves.