NPS Geodiversity Atlas—Fort Donelson National Battlefield, Kentucky and Tennessee

Geodiversity refers to the full variety of natural geologic (rocks, minerals, sediments, fossils, landforms, and physical processes) and soil resources and processes that occur in the park. A product of the Geologic Resources Inventory, the NPS Geodiversity Atlas delivers information in support of education, Geoconservation, and integrated management of living (biotic) and non-living (abiotic) components of the ecosystem.

cover of gri report with photo of a canons and river
In-depth geologic information is contained in the baseline inventory products of the Geologic Resources Inventory, see table below.


[Site Under Development]
Within the 300 million years spanned by the bedrock and geologic deposits at Fort Donelson National Battlefield, there are stories of ancient warm water seas, colliding continents, and epic mountain ranges, as well as river evolution and ice age glacier activity. And that's all before you get to the human history where the topography of how those deposits eroded created strategic defenses—high ground—that ultimately were defeated by new technology such as ironclad warships that utilized the strategic power of a geomorphic change agent—rivers. The underlying soils and unconsolidated deposits were no friends to the Forts' inhabitants either, as they contributed considerably to the muck and mire. More recent human history involves the construction of dams and armored shoreline to subdue the impact of floods and erosion.

Geologic Features and Processes

The following geologic features and processes are found within the park:

  • Fluvial Processes and Features

  • Windblown Loess

  • Historic Resources

  • Faults

  • Karst Features

  • Bedrock Exposures

  • Paleontological Resources


Those varied geologic features and processes also create a multitude of resource management issues for park staff, including:

  • Flooding

  • Upland Weathering

  • Slope Movements, Hazards, and Risks

  • Abandoned Mineral Lands and Disturbed Lands

  • Paleontological Resource Inventory, Monitoring, and Protection

Learn more about NPS programs for geologic resource management on these websites: [Geoconservation Programs] [Geohazards] [Fossil Stewardship] [Cave Resources Stewardship]

Regional Geology

Fort Donelson National Battlefield is a part of the Interior Low Plateaus Physiographic Province and shares its geologic history and some characteristic geologic formations with a region that extends well beyond park boundaries.

Maps and Reports

geologic map of the park cropped thumbnail view

The Geologic Resources Inventory produces digital geologic maps and reports for more than 270 natural resource parks. The products listed below are currently available for this park, check back often for updates as many maps, reports, and posters are still in progress.
  • Scoping summaries are records of scoping meetings where NPS staff and local geologists determined the park’s geologic mapping plan and what content should be included in the report.
  • Digital geologic maps include files for viewing in GIS software, a guide to using the data, and a document with ancillary map information. Newer products also include data viewable in Google Earth and online map services.
  • Reports use the maps to discuss the park’s setting and significance, notable geologic features and processes, geologic resource management issues, and geologic history.
  • Posters are a static view of the GIS data in PDF format. Newer posters include aerial imagery or shaded relief and other park information. They are also included with the reports.
  • Projects list basic information about the program and all products available for a park.

Source: Data Store Saved Search 2855. To search for additional information, visit the Data Store.

NPS Soil Resources Inventory project has been completed for Fort Donelson National Battlefield and can be found on the NPS Data Store.

Source: Data Store Saved Search 2923. To search for additional information, visit the Data Store.

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Fort Donelson National Battlefield

National Park Service Geodiversity Atlas

The servicewide Geodiversity Atlas provides information on geoheritage and geodiversity resources and values within the National Park System. This information supports science-based geoconservation and interpretation in the NPS, as well as STEM education in schools, museums, and field camps. The NPS Geologic Resources Division and many parks work with National and International geoconservation communities to ensure that NPS abiotic resources are managed using the highest standards and best practices available.

For more information on the NPS Geodiversity Atlas, contact us.

Fort Donelson National Battlefield

Last updated: May 18, 2021