Quaking in Volo
In Illinois, United States
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This is an Earthcache and has special logging requirements which are:
1. Email cache owner the water level indicated at posted coordinates
2. Email explanation of why the water is acidic.
3. Post a photo of you with the carnivorous plant (or post #8)
Volo Bog is an Illinois Nature Preserve. There is a half mile loop boardwalk leading visitors through each stage of the bog. Trail brochures are available outside the visitor center entrance.
Guided tours are available Saturdays and Sundays at 11am and 1pm. Phone (815)344-1294
Best time to visit is late May
Volo Bog is a unique and interesting place formed by glaciers thousands of years ago. It is the only quaking bog in Illinois to have an open water center. It is also significant because it exhibits all stages of bog succession.
What is a bog?
A general definition of a bog is a wetland with spongy ground and soil composed mainly of decayed vegetable matter. A quaking bog is one which developed on a mat of peat moss growing over a water surface.
Imagine a mat of thickly woven moss and cattail that form across the water surface and may quiver and shake when walked upon, but please protect the bog by staying on the trail. Then imagine that mat becoming so thick it can support trees. The boardwalk will lead you through all stages of the bog.
The stages include a floating mat of sphagnum moss, cattail and sedges surrounding an open pool of water. As vegetation thickens, a shrub community dominated by poison sumac and leatherleaf invades the mat. This is eventually replaced by tamarack forest. Surrounding this forest is a second, more extensive shrub zone which abruptly ends and becomes a marsh/sedge meadow community.
How did it form?
Volo Bog began to form about 12,000 years ago as the Wisconsin glacier receded. Large blocks of ice broke away from the glacier and were buried in sand, clay, gravel and boulders left behind by the melting glacier. As the earth warmed, the blocks of ice melted, leaving depressions called kettle holes. Of the two kettle holes formed by the glacier, one has filled in and the other has become considerably shallower than its original 50 foot depth.
Volo Bog was originally a deep 50-acre lake, with steep banks and poor drainage. Research on pollen grains preserved in the bog indicates that the lake began filling with vegetation approximately 6,000 years ago. A floating mat formed around the outside edges among the cattails and sedges. As these plants died and decomposed, the peat mat thickened, forming a support material for rooted plants. Because of the lack of drainage and the presence of sphagnum moss, the water in the bog became acidic. This limited the types of plants that could survive and thus created the unique plant communities found in the bog. In season, you will see an excellent specimen of a carnivorous pitcher plant on the boardwalk trail.
A bog receives water from precipitation only. Since Volo Bog receives its water from runoff and ground water, it is considered a fen. Nature does not always fit neatly into human categories.
Permission was given for this EarthCache by Site Superintendent Greg Kelly. Visitors are expected to follow all site rules and stay on trails. No dogs are allowed on boardwalk trail. Information used in the cache description was adapted in part from Volo Bog literature by Stacy Iwanicki and artist Diana Maxwell.
The posted coordinates take you to an area where you will find a water level marker. It is located on the half mile Bog Interpretive Trail.
To log this EarthCache:
1. Email owners the water level indicated at posted coordinates and explain why the water is acidic.
2. Post a photo of you with the carnivorous plant (or post #8)
Pitcher plant coordinates are 42 21.085 88 11.106
(No hints available.)
Last Updated: on 8/21/2014 10:44:10 PM Pacific Daylight Time (5:44 AM GMT)
Coordinates are in the WGS84 datum