Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



Major Professor

Dr. Edward E.C. Clebach

Committee Members

Dr. M.E. Springer, Dr. O.C. Kopp, & Dr. J.A. Olson


The present study sought to determine differences in soil characteristics related to spruce-fir and beech-birch vegetation in the Great Smoky Mountains when other factors were held as nearly constant as possible. An attempt was made to evaluate the influence of bedrock on soil characteristics and vegetation patterns. Hopefully this investigation may contribute to a greater understanding of the perplexing vegetation mosaic found at higher mountain elevations.

The Great Smoky Mountains of eastern Tennessee and western North Carolina constitute the portion of the Unaka Range situated between the Little Tennessee and Pigeon Rivers. Although metamorphosed, the rocks of Unakas, the westernmost range of the Blue Ridge Province, lack the degree of recrystallization or granitization found eastward (Fenneman, 1938). Most of the rocks of the Great Smoky Mountains belong to the Ocoee series, a group of late Precambrian, primarily clastic sedimentary rocks that have undergone some metamorphism, generally increasing toward the southeast. The compositions of the complexly faulted and highly deformed rocks of the Ocoee series range from conglomerate and poorly-sorted and coarse-grained sandstones to shales, slates, and phyllites, often intergrading and intertonguing (Stose and Stose, 1949; King et al., 1958; Hadley and Goldsmith, 1963; King, 1964; Neuman and Nelson, 1965).

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