Electronic Theses and Dissertations





Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Earth Sciences



Committee Chair

Randel T. Cox

Committee Member

Roy B. Van Arsdale

Committee Member

Youngsang Kwon


The Western Highland Rim (WHR) of Tennessee is located between the Nashville Dome to the east and the Mississippi Embayment to the west. This region is situated inside the bend of the Appalachian-Ouachita orogen along the eastern margin of the Laurentian craton, making it a location of intrigue for structural analysis. Far-field and local stresses have deformed the WHR across multiple Eras. In the Paleozoic, the Appalachian (east of WHR) and Ouachita (south of WHR) orogenies were both thrusting onto the Laurentian craton. Mesoscale structures recorded in the WHR indicate shortening direction history of these tectonic stresses, how many pulses of deformation occurred, zones of concentrated deformation, and whether or not the deformation is resultant of Paleozoic far-field stress. Measuring deformational structures in the exposed Paleozoic rocks along the Tennessee River, analyzing the data with stereographic projections and rose diagrams, and viewing the spatial distribution of structures on a map shows the regional tectonic deformational history of the WHR. The Appalachian-Ouachita orogen is often termed as occurring at the same time, yet analysis of mesoscale structures argues for an older Ouachita tectonic load followed by southern Appalachian compression. Variation in the frequency of structure orientations shows a dominant Appalachian pulse in the Southern and Northern Sections, while the Central Section suggests a dominant Ouachita pulse.


Data is provided by the student.

Library Comment

Dissertation or thesis originally submitted to the local University of Memphis Electronic Theses & dissertation (ETD) Repository.