Sweetwater Barite District

Region Central, South Central
Mineral systems
Deposit types
Critical minerals
Other minerals

Information leading to the delineation of this focus area

Basis for focus area Barite primarily occurs in the upper Ordovician part of the Knox Group and concentrated mainly in overlying residual clays. Fluorite and Zn resources have been identified in the Sweetwater (MVT) district in Tennessee. The Sweetwater district in parts of McMinn, Monroe, and Loudon counties has yielded most of the barite mined in Tennessee.
Identified resources Historical production of barite.
Production Accounted for at least 90% of Tennessee's estimated total barite production of 1,650,000 tons.
Status Past mining.
Estimated resources Unknown.
Geologic maps Clark and others (1993), scale 1:500,000; Kohl (2008), scale 1:24,000; Jewell (2007), scale 1:24,000; Jewell and Kohl (2006), scale 1:24,000; Rodgers (1952a, b), scales 1:24,000; Miller and others (2018), scale 1:24,000; Lemiszki and Kohl (2010), scale 1:24,000.
Geophysical data Inadequate aeromagnetic and aeroradiometric coverage.
Favorable rocks and structures Residuum of Upper Ordovician Knox Group carbonate rocks.
Deposits Sweetwater Barite district; Ballard mine (MRDS dep_id: 10299868), Eve Mills deposit (MRDS dep_id: 10251679, Howard mine (MRDS dep_id: 10025831), Hudson mine (MRDS dep_id: 10025826).
Evidence from mineral occurrences MRDS.
Geochemical evidence Barium in soils; published and unpublished analyses and petrographic reports at the Tennessee Geological Survey, Knoxville Field Office. Barite, pyrite, fluorite, sphalerite, and galena occur as banded veins in coarse breccia (Dunlap, 1955).
Geophysical evidence None.
Evidence from other sources Geologic mapping.
Comments Many deposits contain barite masses in the residual clay that are larger than those observed in the bedrock. The implication is that the original barite has been dissolved and reprecipitated in the weathering cycle" (Maher, 1970). "Surface and subsurface exploration conducted by U.S. Borax has shown that mineralization in the district, although dominated by fluorite and barite, does include significant amounts of sphalerite" (Misra and others, 1989).
Cover thickness and description Few feet to over 100 feet; averages 35 feet; depth of mining controlled by depth of weathering.
Authors Nora K. Foley, Bernard Hubbard, Peter J. Lemiszki.
New data needs Geophysical data and geochemical analyses.
Geologic mapping and modeling needs Geologic mapping adequate.
Geophysical survey and modeling needs High resolution geophysical coverage. Note that the timing of the deposits is uncertain; they may have been transported on thrust sheets.
Digital elevation data needs Lidar adequate.