Smoky Mountain Geology

Although I have wondered how the mountains in Tennessee were formed, I got my first inkling of the formation of the mountains when I toured Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies last month:

Smoky Mountain Formation

Smoky Mountain Formation

Then the other night I was watching Curiosity:Beneath America on Discovery and the formation of the different mountain ranges in America was illustrated.  I was surprised to learn that the Appalachian Mountain range is the oldest range in the United States. Apparently they were once taller than the Rocky Mountain range.  Wind and water erosion has taken them to their current height.

The Appalachians were formed when the earth had one giant continent called Pangaea.  When Pangaea moved it caused the tectonic plates to collide pushing up the rock which formed the Appalachian Mountain range.  See this government site about The Great Smoky Mountains.