Project Director

Churnet, Habte

Department Examiner

Hossain, A. K. M. Azad; Mies, Jonathan W.


Dept. of Geology


University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

Place of Publication

Chattanooga (Tenn.)


The origin of metamorphic zones of the Blue Ridge is attributed to metamorphic events that affected sedimentary rocks of debated age, leading the topic to be controversial and continuously studied. The present study seeks to refine the metamorphic isograds of the Tennessee Blue Ridge based on Barrovian index minerals in pelitic rocks and the texture patterns these pelitic rocks present. Methods used in the present study are supported by conventional petrography, powder X-ray diffraction, and by GIS and digital image processing. Metamorphic isograds in the Blue Ridge have been determined mainly by identification of index minerals using a polarizing petrographic microscope. Applications of GIS and digital image processing in geologic studies are countless, but few researchers have applied these technologies to study spatial relationships among minerals in a rock. The use of GIS and digital image processing in studying these minerals could provide a more efficient and precise means of mineral identification and determining the location of metamorphic isograds. A total of 8 samples of very low- to medium-grade metamorphosed pelitic rock have been collected along US HWY 64. The mineralogy of each sample was analyzed both by powder X-ray diffraction and in thin section, using a petrographic microscope. Photomicrographs were taken of each thin section under plane-polarized and cross-polarized light and were processed to study in GIS environments. Tools in ArcGIS and ERDAS Imagine software were used to make reproducible measurements for comparison and quantification of different minerals in photomicrographs. Classification images were produced and thematically show mineral classes and rock fabrics. Reflectance values of Barrovian index minerals were identified. These techniques help refine the positions of isograds between the metamorphic zones and can be further explored and applied to other metamorphic rocks containing these minerals in the Blue Ridge.


B. S.; An honors thesis submitted to the faculty of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the degree of Bachelor of Science.




Metamorphism (Geology); Metamorphic rocks


Barrovian minerals; Metamorphic zones; GIS; Digital Imaging Processing; Tennessee Blue Ridge



Document Type



56 leaves




Under copyright.


Included in

Geology Commons