City is the most commercial location on this field study.
While the commercialism does detract from the geology of the location, it
still provides some excellent examples to discuss.
Since the top of the Cumberland Plateau and Lookout Mountain is made of
hard sandstone, it tends to weather rather slowly.
Nonetheless, over millions of years of being eroded by wind and water the
sandstone weathered into amazing boulder formations.
Rock City, there are excellent examples of these boulder formations.
There are also huge joints that you can walk through.
This illustrates how water has repeatedly followed that path of least
resistance and followed these joints eroding the edges and widening the gaps.
In addition, there are two primary types of rock to be seen here –
sandstone and limestone. While
walking through the gardens, students should repeatedly be able to differentiate
between the sandstone and limestone.
Rock City is a major tourist attraction, some of the formations have been
altered so that they seem even more interesting or magnificent.
Though this seems like it would interfere with the studying of geology
here, it actually improves the opportunities.
As you walk through the beginning of the gardens, you should notice how
the weathered rock looks. As you
continue your walk, you should notice areas that are appropriately weathered and
areas that are obviously not weathered. This
is a great opportunity to study the effects of weathering on surface appearance
of rock. In addition, some of the
tunnels you walk through were created naturally, while others are man-made.
You should notice the texture and appearance of the rock in the various
tunnels to determine how the tunnel was created – by man or by nature.