Date of Award
Master of Science
H. C. Amick
R. Lee Collins, Casper Rappenecker
Introduction: Blount County forms one of the eastern tier of counties bordering the East Tennessee State line and is situated slightly south of the middle of the State. It lies between parallels 35° 27' and 35° 53' North latitude and meridians 83° 40' and 84° 10' West longitude. It is hexagonal in shape and has a total area of 571 square miles. About two-thirds of the northwestern part of the county lies in the valley area and the remainder is within the mountain area. (Fig.1).
The geologic history of Blount County, as recorded in the rocks and expressed by the topographic forms that have been carved from these rocks is a long and complicated one. In part it has been deciphered, but the final, and hence the correct, interpretations will probably not be determined until far more information is available.
Eons of time are involved in the geologic story of Blount County. During this long period of time, the region has been in preparation for man. The long geologic record is one of alternating periods of construction, modification and destruction. Seas, plains, and mountains in turn have occupied this region; forces so gigantic that man's greatest efforts seem puerile in comparison, have uplifted, depressed and folded the rocks as though they were thin pieces of paper. Precipitation in the form of rain and snow has fallen from the skies since the last emergence of the land mass from beneath oceanic waters, and the resultant streams have carried from the region such great masses of rock that if all were replaced the region would contain mountains rivaling the higher mountains of the Cordilleras.1
The human history, in comparison with the geologic history, is extremely brief. The Indians probably occupied the region a few hundred years before the white man came but they seldom interfered with or modified the forces of Nature. The white men from Europe, from their first arrival, have been altering the surface topography and in countless ways have either aide or impeded the natural forces of destruction and construction.
The rocks and the soils of the region have been put to use and in some cases, depleted. Of course, the effects of man's efforts have resulted in only minor modifications of Nature's handiwork, although in our egotism we are inclined to boast of human accomplishments.
The first white settlers came to the region a little over 170 years ago and the increase in population has been a steady one ever since. Although the agricultural interests predominate, manufacturing is now rapidly developing. Transportation facilities and the great industrial demands have been still further enhanced by the nearness to available electrical power.
Rittgers, Fred H., "A Geographical Survey of Blount County, Tennessee. " Master's Thesis, University of Tennessee, 1941.