EAST TENNESSEE GEOLOGICAL SOCIETY
2008 Autumn Field Trip


Geology and Mineralogy of the Sharps Chapel Area

Union County, Tennessee
Saturday, November 15, 2008

Trip Leader: Travis Paris

Photographs by J. Brad Stephenson, unless otherwise noted.


New Prospect Mine

The New Prospect Mine at Leadmine Bend lies northwest of Sharps Chapel. Lead-zinc ore was mined sporadically from the 1880s until the 1940s. The ore was shipped by barge down the Powell River to a zinc smelter in Clinton, Tennessee. The lead ore component was shipped by rail to smelters in the northern U.S. The ore deposit is stratabound and fault bounded. It is hosted in Cambrian-age carbonate rocks. Primary minerals include are yellow sphalerite and galena. Secondary minerals include cerrusite, hemimorphite, smithsonite, and limonite.

 

Norris Lake (Clarks Hollow) Kimberlite

The Norris Lake (Clarks Hollow) kimberlite lies southwest of Sharps Chapel and consists two kimberlite bodies exposed in Silurian-Devonian strata. The kimberlite is sheared and altered (serpentinized), in part due to an adjoining thrust fault. Brecciation and xenoliths are recognizable. Minerals commonly observed include two colors of garnet, phlogopite phenocrysts, serpentine, and magnetite crystals up to 15 millimeters wide. Two diamonds were found several miles downstream of the kimberlite pipes prior to construction of the lake. The pipes were first reported in 1869 by Safford.


Claiborne County Boat Launch Fossil Site

During periods of low water levels, middle-Ordovician carbonate units are exposed at the Claiborne County boat launch east of Sharps Chapel. This exposure contains a group of large stromatolites, as well as bryozoa, brachiopods, and occasional trilobite fragments.


ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

Travis Paris was the trip leader for this outing. ETGS thanks Travis for a job well done!

A non-ETGS trip to the kimberlite and New Prospect Mine are documented at http://mcrocks.com/ftr07/StreeterFebruary2007.html.


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November 21, 2008