Bill Witherspoon

Dr. Bill Witherspoon

Dr. Bill Witherspoon, geologist and co-author of Roadside Geology of Georgia, will present a slide show illustrating three examples of Georgia geology’s impact on people on Wednesday, September 3, beginning at 7 p.m. at The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, Grote Hall, Room 131.

This event is free and open to the public. It is hosted by The UTC Physics, Geology and Astronomy Department.

Attendees who register for this event will be entered in a drawing for a copy of Roadside Geology of Georgia. Register at or “Join” in

The event is one of several walks, talks, and book signings by the authors of Roadside Geology of Georgia. The full-color, 320-page guide is part of a Mountain Press Publishing series that has sold over one million copies.

“Our goal is to engage the reader with the Earth science that lies behind Georgia’s natural wonders and history,” says book coauthor Witherspoon.

“Golddiggers, Generals, and Tightrope-Walkers: Three Georgia Geology Tales” first tells the story of north Georgia’s gold deposits, which can be traced back to seafloor volcanic processes and the subsequent mountain-building when Africa collided with North America. The gold sparked America’s first gold rush by the “’29er’s,” many of whom became ‘49er’s in California in 1849.

The second geology tale begins with the layers of tilted and overlapped sedimentary rocks that gave northwest Georgia (and eastern Tennessee) its Valley and Ridge landscape. The rail line, defensive strongholds, and water sources in the landscape shaped the Atlanta Campaign, which helped seal the outcome of the Civil War.

Bill Witherspoon with bookThe final tale looks at northeast Georgia’s Tallulah Gorge, site of tightrope walks. The narrowness of the gorge reflects its relatively recent origin, when one river that flows to the Atlantic eroded through a ridge and captured waters that formerly flowed to the Chattahoochee and the Gulf of Mexico.

Witherspoon taught undergraduate geology to students at The University of Tennessee Knoxville and UTC. He worked for a petroleum company, as a software developer, and as a K-12 geology teacher for 17 years at DeKalb County Schools’ Fernbank Science Center.

For more information, please call Dr. Habte G. Churnet 423- 425-4407 or email

Media Relations Contacts: Email Shawn Ryan or call (423) 425-4363.