Survey of Carbonate Mud Mounds of the Fort Payne Formation
Carbonate mud mounds of the Fort Payne Formation range from southern Illinois through Kentucky, Tennessee, and southeast into northern Alabama. This research was conducted on mud mound outcrops of Center Hill Lake near Smithville, Tennessee. Our goal with this research was to collect general data and samples of mud mounds to build a database of confirmed mounds and observe if there is a trend in mound size from northwest to southeast. Using unpublished coordinates from field work done in the 1990’s, each location on Center Hill Lake was visited and its location confirmed using GPS. Samples were collected at field locations for general composition analysis. A description including size and lithology of each mud mound location was recorded. Over 100 photographs were taken to catalog and form photo mosaics of each located structure. This data was added to a file system, a Google Earth file, and a spreadsheet for future analysis. For future work, more data collection at each site is needed along with a more detailed analysis of the lithologies that appears at the base of each mound. Electronically stored results will enable easier access to the data on each mud mound as it is located and recorded. The final results would be utilizing ArcGIS Pro to build a searchable database and enable detailed mapping of sites as they are cataloged. We can then use this data to make observations about the mounds, including size trends possibly indicating their proximity to the paleo shoreline of the Mississippian period.