Southeastern Section, GSA - 57th Annual Meeting

10-11 April 2008

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Hot Springs Arkansas
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Charlotte has a population of about 700,000, but the surrounding region — commonly known as Metrolina — includes parts of North Carolina and South Carolina, with a population of over two million. Geologically, North Carolina has an international reputation for minerals and a mining history going back to colonial times. The first major ore-mining period in the United States was stimulated by the discovery of gold in Cabarrus County in 1799. North Carolina was the nation’s only gold mining state until 1828, and U.S. gold coins were minted in Charlotte from 1838 until 1861. You can learn about this history at the nearby Reed Gold Mine State Historic Park.

Charlotte has served as a launching point (or rest stop) for many geological excursions into the nearby Kings Mountain belt (known for lithium-bearing pegmatites) and, in older terminology, the Carolina slate belt, one of several non-Laurentian terranes in the Piedmont. In 1955, GSA published Guides to Southeastern Geology; Richard J. Russell edited this massive volume. It was intended to be a driver’s geological road guide for geologists heading to New Orleans, where that year’s national meeting was to be held. Sam D. Broadhurst wrote the North Carolina chapter for the guidebook. The only stop he noted in the immediate vicinity of Charlotte was the “Concord syenite ring dike” on Hwy. 29 just southeast of University City. (The Concord pluton is known in local urban mythology as the “speedway volcano.”)

We hope that you will not consider Charlotte just a convenience on the route to greater geological pleasures, but as a destination where the history of geology in the southeastern section continues to grow.

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