4A - Cumberland Plateau /
Sequatchie Valley

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grassy cove photo
grassy cove topo
Grassy Cove, NHAP Image
(Aerial Photograph)
Grassy Cove, Topographic Map

Sequatchie Valley (SLAR)
Sequatchie Valley (NALC)
Grassy Cove (Stereo Triplet)
Sequatchie Valley (Anaglyph)
Grassy Cove (Anaglyph)
Racoon Mountain
(Topo Map)


Sequatchie Valley and Grassy Cove are well known landscape features in the Cumberland Plateau of central Tennessee. They differ significantly from typical plateau features because of their abundance of limestone rock and the subsequent development of Karst Topography. Extensive cave systems and an abundance of springs point out the importance of groundwater hydrology in this region. Grassy Cove is an enclosed basin with no surface outlet for runoff. Sequatchie Valley formed as the result of thrust faulting, tectonic uplift, and the un-roofing of resistant sandstones to expose the easily eroded limestone layers below. Both of these features exhibit spectacular scenery and a history of cultural development and land use that is very different from the typical Cumberland Plateau style.

The Raccoon Mountain area straddles the Tennessee River gorge through Walden Ridge and features a pumped-storage hydroelectric generating facility as well as topographic features more typical of the plateau. The reservoir at the top of Raccoon Mountain boasts the largest rock-fill dam ever built by the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) and has become a tourist attraction as well as a source for clean peak-load power.


  • Karst Solution Valley, Underground Drainage
  • Breached Anticline, Geological History
  • Raccoon Mountain Pumped Storage Hydroelectric Project

Content Outline

  • Rationale
  • Performance Objectives
  • Assessment Rubrics
  • Newspaper Article
  • Study Area Description

Activity Titles

All activities include

  • Power Thinking Exercise
  • Materials
  • Performance Tasks
  • Enrichment
  1. Grassy Cove
  2. Sequatchie Valley
  3. Raccoon Mountain Pumped Storage

4A Photo