Imagine Northeast Iowa

A blogging extravaganza by, for, & about Northeast Iowa.

What's an EarthCache?
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What's an EarthCache?

Last time we spoke, you will recall that I mentioned a different kind of geocache...one without a container or log book. This kind is called an EarthCache.

The definition of an EarthCache is as follows...

"An EarthCache is a special place that people can visit to learn about a unique geoscience feature of our Earth. EarthCache pages include a set of educational notes along with cache coordinates. Visitors to EarthCaches can see how our planet has been shaped by geological processes, how we manage its resources and how scientists gather evidence to learn about the Earth."

So, for your first EarthCache, we'll visit one that I developed.

This EarthCache is located just west of Bluffton Iowa and is called Coldwater Springs' EarthCache GC1AW1M on the geocaching.com web site.

You will note in this EarthCache's description that I have it rated 4 1/2 stars (out of 5) on the terrain side. This means you are going to get your feet wet, so be prepared.

This spring is located in the Driftless Area of Iowa, a region characterized by karst topography, which involves disappearing streams, blind valleys, sinkholes, caves, cold springs, and cold streams, all of which are present here.

Coldwater Spring is the source of Coldwater Creek, a tributary of the Upper Iowa River. Over time, the spring has carved its way into the cliff, creating a picturesque, sun-dappled alcove festooned with linas and columbine. Water surges at 8,700 gallons per minute. This is the spot where, in the 1850's, George Puteney built Cold Spring Mill, a sawmill, when the surrounding land was first settled.

A walk along a nicely maintained trail will bring you to the spring itself.

After you get over the moment of WOW that usually accompanies most good EarthCaches, your job begins. Because afterall, an EarthCache requires folks to take some measurements to apply what they have learned.

Water pH, height of the cliff, and water temperature. It is that easy. Be sure to e-mail your information to me. And even though it isn't necessary, you'll want to take some pictures.

Success. You just found your first EarthCache.

Next week, it is time to find your first puzzle geocache.

So till then...Cache On!

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