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Sweetwater Barite District, Monroe Co., Tennessee, USA

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Ref.: Brobst, D.A. (1958), Barite Resources of the United States, USGS Bull. 1072-B: 80 (Table 9), 102; Gordon, C.H. (1918), Barite deposits of the Sweetwater district, east Tennessee: Tennessee geol. Survey Resources of Tennessee, Vol. 8(1): 48-82; Laurence, R.A. (1939), Origin of the Sweetwater, Tennessee, barite deposits, Econ.Geol.: 34: 190-200; Gildersleeve, B. (1946), Minerals and structural materials of east Tennessee: TVA Regional Products Research Div. Rept. B.: 3-5; Rodgers, J. (1952), Geology of the Niota quadrangle, Tennessee, USGS quad. map US GQ 18.

This is a baryte mining area located in parts of Monroe, McMinn, and Loudon Counties.

The baryte occurs with fluorite and pyrite in veins or shatter zones in the upper part of the Knox group of Cambrian and Ordovician age and is concentrated in the overlying residual clays. Only the residual deposits have been exploited commercially. The best of these are in clays derived from the limestone member at the base of the Kingsport formation. Some deposits are in the residuum of Mascot dolomite above the Kingsport and some also are in residuum of the Longview dolomite below the Kingsport.

The residual deposits occur along three narrow parallel northeast-trending belts separated by barren zones. The three belts are on fault blocks bounded by southeast-dipping thrust faults. The regional strike of the rocks is N.50ºE. and the dip is 10º to 20º SE. Workable residual bodies of ore occur at irregular intervals along the three belts that are 100 to 300 feet wide. The eastern belt is about 20 miles long, whereas the middle and western belts are probably about 40 miles long. Some of the larger deposits extended over 10 to 12 acres and were worked to bedrock at a depth of 125 feet.

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