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Ridges, Valleys and a Wildfire in the Area of Knoxville, Tennessee, USA

35.9N 83.9W

November 13th, 2009 Category: Fires, Lakes, Rivers

USA - November 8th, 2009

USA - November 8th, 2009

The city of Knoxville in the state of Tennessee, USA, is visible as a greyish circular area in the lower left quadrant, near a series of hills and ridges. These are part of the Appalachian Ridge-and-Valley Province, which consists of a series of elongate and narrow ridges that traverse the upper Tennessee Valley.

Also of note in this image is a wildfire in the upper left quadrant, the smoke from which is blowing northeast. The fire is located in the state of Kentucky, not far from the Tennessee border.

The most substantial Ridge-and-Valley structures in the Knoxville area are Bays Mountain, which runs along the Knox-Blount county line to the south, and Beaver Ridge, which passes through the northern section of the town. The Great Smoky Mountains— a subrange of the Appalachian Mountains— are located approximately 20 miles (32 km) south of Knoxville.

In the southeast part of the city, the French Broad River joins the Holston River to form the Tennessee River. Knoxville is centered around a hilly area along the north bank of the river between its First Creek and Second Creek tributaries.

Two lakes are visible northeast of Knoxville. The first, Douglas Lake, also called Douglas Reservoir, is an artificial lake created by an impoundment of the French Broad River by Douglas Dam. The dam was built by the Tennessee Valley Authority in the early 1940s to control flooding in the Tennessee Valley and provide electricity to rural areas in the region. The lake, easily identified by it’s snakelike bends, is situated only a few miles from the Pigeon Forge/Gatlinburg area and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

The second body of water, just north of Douglas Lake, is the Cherokee Reservoir, also known as Cherokee Lake, formed by the impoundment of the Holston River behind Cherokee Dam, which was built for hydroelectric generation and flood control. The reservoir has a surface area of about 28,780 acres (11,650 ha), a flood-storage capacity of 749,406 acre feet (924,379,000 m3), and nearly 400 miles (640 km) of shoreline. In a normal year, the lake water level fluctuates over a range of about 27 feet (8.2 m).

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