Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



Major Professor

Robert D. Hatcher, Jr.

Committee Members

Greg S. Baker, Micah J. Jessup, John B. Wilkerson


The southern and central Appalachian foreland fold-thrust belt comprises a series of orogen -scale curves that extend from Alabama to New York. One of these is the Tennessee salient, a foreland-convex curve that extends from Cartersville, Georgia, to Roanoke, Virginia. Development of a kinematic model for deformation in the salient has been hindered by a paucity of penetrative deformation in this generally low temperature, low volume-loss portion of the orogen.

Industry seismic reflection lines provide greater resolution of subsurface geometry of both the basement surface and the overlying fold-thrust belt, confirming some previous interpretations and changing others. A series of cross sections based on the seismic reflection data incorporates the improved understanding of basement geometry, as well as new interpretations of fold-thrust belt structures such as a sub-thrust detachment fold along the western margin of the Valley and Ridge, a smaller detachment fold along the Cumberland Escarpment, and a duplex below the Knoxville sheet in southeastern Tennessee.

The cross sections, combined with recently published analyses of calcite twin strain and paleomagnetic data around the salient, provide sufficient data to develop a new palinspastic reconstruction method and to propose a kinematic model for development of the salient. The basis of the reconstruction method is, in areas where the front of the indenter is oriented oblique to transport, the maximum shortening direction and particle displacement paths are also oblique to the bulk transport direction. Cross sections, kinematic indicators, and palinspastic reconstructions suggest that the Tennessee salient is a primary arc formed by a combination of uniform displacement in a single direction and transport-parallel simple shear (plane strain), that most major faults formed initially curved in front of the irregularly shaped Blue Ridge-Inner Piedmont indenter, and that transport in the fold-thrust belt may have occurred by plan view movement on networks of minor faults, which permitted forelandward propagation of the curved faults without significant rotation. Although the technique does not provide a unique solution, the resulting palinspastic restoration is kinematically admissible and geometrically reasonable. So, it may improve palinspastic restorations of facies in basins with no vertical axis rotations and minimal penetrative strain. Attachments are in PDF format and may be opened with Adobe Reader™.

PLATE I Rockwood L side.pdf (2474 kB)
Plate I

PLATE II Rockwood R side.pdf (21574 kB)
Plate II

PLATE III poster style.pdf (7620 kB)
Plate III

PLATE IV deformed and restored.pdf (5104 kB)
Plate IV

PLATE V palinspastic restoration.pdf (14198 kB)
Plate V

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