Masters Theses

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science



Major Professor

Frank G. Snyder

Committee Members

Paris B. Stockdale, R. Lee Collins


Introduction: Time and the stratigraphic relationships of the Ocoee and Chilhowee groups have long been a problem in southern Appalachian geology. These rocks, now metamorphosed to varying degrees, outcrop over wide areas in the mountain region. Unfortunately, no one person has been able to study their problems in enough detail to unravel them and, as a result, many conflicting statements are in the literature.

Formations of the Ocoee and Chilhowee groups are largely composed of fine to coarse clastic sediments. In general, rocks of the Ocoee group lie to the southeast; those of the Chilhowee group to the northeast. The stratigraphic relationships of the two groups are difficult to determine. Standard methods of correlation are not applicable to this problem due to lack of fossil evidence, varying degree of metamorphism, and complex structure. In areas thus far mapped the groups are in fault relationship only, never in normal stratigraphic sequence. Lithologic units in the Ocoee group usually cannot be traced far laterally because of structural and metamorphic complexities. Units of the Chilhowee, on the other hand, are only slightly altered by metamorphic processes and are more amenable to normal stratigraphic methods.

Early workers assigned these groups to various geologic periods ranging from pre-Cambrian to Silurian. More recently geologists are generally agreed that the groups are of pre-Cambrian and Lower Cambrian age.

This study is an attempt to apply heavy mineral techniques to some phases of the Ocoee-Chilhowee problem. Results may prove useful in supplementing field mapping in complex areas, in correlating units from one fault block to another, and in assisting in interpreting geologic history of the area.

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