Geologist speaker digs into Georgia gold rush
The Gilmer County Historical Society and Museum, in partnership with the Gilmer County Library, is pleased to announce a joint program for January.
Dr. Bill Witherspoon will present Geology, Gold and the Making of Georgia Saturday, Jan. 19, 2 p.m., at the library.
Witherspoon’s program will show the science behind how the gold belt of north Georgia was created — from its beginnings with volcanic activity to the settling of nuggets in streams. Insights borrowed from historians show how the Georgia Gold Rush fostered industry and helped give Georgia a different character than other neighboring states.
It will include a slide show of the tectonic plate movements which pushed the gold sources from volcanic vents into a collision with the North American continent, forming the famous Gold Belt that runs through north Georgia. Gilmer County was actually the site of one of the largest gold nuggets ever found in Georgia.
Witherspoon will also touch on recent earthquakes in the Southeast, in contrast to the much more active tectonics of Georgia when the gold deposits were forming.
A noted geologist, Witherspoon is now retired from the Fernbank Science Center in Atlanta. He is co-author of Roadside Geology of Georgia, now in its second printing.
Copies of the book will be available for purchase and signing upon the conclusion of this library program, which is free and open to the public.
A question and answer session will follow Witherspoon’s talk.