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GMS Juniors Field Trip

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Shatter Cone

GMS Juniors Field Trip
Wells Creek Basin, TN
Saturday, March 15, 2014

The special Juniors’ field trip to the Wells Creek Basin impact site was a wonderful experience for all! Once again we dodged some unpleasant weather before and after the trip and were treated to a beautiful day that was perfect for collecting shatter cones.

GMS juniors and Meteorite Association of Georgia members gathered around as Marvin explained what we would be seeing that day. Using detailed handouts and a large topological map of the crater, he pointed out features from where we were standing. From his descriptions plus a tour of the impact site to see geological anomalies directly attributed to the Wells Creek impact event, we learned how massive this ancient impact truly was. We saw shale that was way out of place for its age and tilted in a geologically odd way as well as some megabreccia completely out of place. We saw how a sheer bluff had layers tilted almost vertically on one side to partially tilted in the middle to almost horizontally tilted on the other side, all within yards of each other.

Each anomaly brought us closer to ground zero. We could see very clearly how the center of the impact had lifted rock from deep down up to levels that confused early geologists. At first they thought it might be volcanic activity, but that theory did not make sense considering the sedimentary nature of the rock. Careful mapping of the area along with detailed analysis of the anomalies helped confirm the impact. Topo maps of the basin show radiating faults from the center of the impact and the shape of the crater is unmistakable.

At ground zero we scrambled over rocks that exhibit the classic shatter pattern. It didn’t take long before everybody had excellent samples of shatter cones. The Nims found a stunning little snake that beguiled us all. It was such a gorgeous day and the collecting was so fun and exciting that we hardly wanted to leave, but there was one more surprise awaiting us.

We went to a super-secret location and collected beautiful blue slag! There was an iron furnace nearby and with some skillful sleuthing and avoidance of ticks, we believe we found the remnants of the furnace. Slag was everywhere and the prettiest blues, greens, and aquas were abundant. After we loaded up on slag we stopped by a local gas station where we were given permission to use Charles’ portable cabbing unit to face polish a few slag specimens. The manager at the gas station was very curious to see what we were doing and received a nice, custom wrapped pendant for his hospitality.

Again we must thank Marvin for another fun and educational trip!

Lori Carter, on behalf of
Charles Carter, GMS Field Trip Chair
e-mail:

Click here for the March 2013 trip report
Click here for the July 2013 trip report

To purchase a copy of the GMS shatter cone coloring book on Amazon, please click below
(Note: All proceeds above cost will be used to further education in Earth Sciences
and to support the educational efforts of the Georgia Mineral Society)

coloring
Photo by Lori Carter

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We could see evidence of the Wells Creek impact event all around us
Photo by Lori Carter

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One stop on our tour was to see some shale that is oddly tilted and way out of place
Photo by Lori Carter

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This is what happens when you try to take a picture from across the street
Photo by Lori Carter

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On another stop we saw some megabreccia, more evidence of the impact
Photo by Lori Carter

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The uplift at ground zero is still visible
Photo by Lori Carter

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Shatter cones were everywhere, even where we were sitting!
Photo by Lori Carter

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Even Zak got in on the action
Photo by Lori Carter

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Nick is an excellent shatter cone hound
Photo by Lori Carter

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It didn't take long for everyone to start finding great shatter cones
Photo by Lori Carter

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This set of shatter cones was liberated from a boulder
Photo by Lori Carter

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Digging is another way to find shatter cones
Photo by Lori Carter

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Charles found a nice shatter cone after a few minutes of digging
Photo by Lori Carter

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Close-up of the shatter cone above
Photo by Lori Carter

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Bill hardly moved from one spot but still managed to find lots of good stuff!
Photo by Lori Carter

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Part of the fun was seeing what other people were finding
Photo by Lori Carter

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Todd Nims found several nice cones
Photo by Lori Carter

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Close-up of the shatter cone above
Photo by Lori Carter

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A sample of Todd's finds
Photo by Lori Carter

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I found this pair of cones in a tree -- after I set them there :o)
Photo by Lori Carter

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A fantastic matrix piece that Todd found
Photo by Lori Carter

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Marvin watches as Chris and Brenda Thompson work piles of shatter cones out of a boulder
Photo by Lori Carter

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The Nims found this sweet little snake
Photo by Lori Carter

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Close-up of the snake above
Photo by Lori Carter

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Marvin marvelling at the marvellous cone Chris found
Photo by Lori Carter

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Close-up of the cone above
Photo by Lori Carter

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Another great matrix piece
Photo by Lori Carter

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A sample of the cones Rebecca Nims found
Photo by Lori Carter

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Chris found these oddly tipped cones
Photo by Lori Carter

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Slag!

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