In Arizona, United States
Size:  (not chosen)
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For this earthcache, you are going to learn about tinajas.
Tinajas are geologically formed rock basins that hold water. They are also known as rock tanks. These features most commonly form in the bedrock channels of steep canyons cut into desert mountain ranges. Guess where you are going to go for this earthcache?
These features are formed by erosive forces. Rocks and pebbles that are tumbled along by swiftly flowing water during flash floods become cutting tools that gouge out the weaker zones in the bedrock of stream beds. This action, over time, forms the feature as a distinct hole, or depression, in the bedrock. Some tinajas are more than twenty feet deep.
Typically, the upstream side of these ever-enlarging depressions bears the full impact of the cutting rocks and pebbles. Therefore, the upstream side of the depression grows deeper than the downstream side. The downstream side of the depression typically rises somewhat in regards to depth, and even is breached with outlet channels.
This asymmetrical form is a good thing. Because of its shape, a tinaja is flushed clean of rock debris and organic material by flash floods. Then, slower water flows and rain fill the depression with clean water. This provides a critical source of water for inhabitants of the desert.
Be safe! This earthcache is not for everyone.
Although it is a short distance, this earthcache involves hiking over rocky, loose, and slick terrain with a vertical component. You need good hiking shoes suitable for the terrain, and some hiking strength.
A lot of the rock has been eroded to a smooth surface and is very slippery in wet or icy conditions. It can even be slippery in dry conditions.
In this area, always be aware of the possibility of flash flooding. Don't get caught.
Cell phone coverage is spotty at best. I advise that you go with a buddy, and make sure people know where you are going.
How To Complete This Earthcache:
Bring a tape measure!
The posted coordinates lead you down to a stream bed in the Santa Catalina mountains, where you will find some good examples of tinajas.
To get there, you need to take the Catalina Highway, which is a paved mountain road that runs north out of Tucson. There is a small fee ($5 or so) for recreational use. You completing an earthcache is recreational use.
At mile 4.5, you will reach the Molino Canyon Vista scenic overlook. This is where you will park. From there, you will hike down to the stream bed. The elevation here is somewhere between 4000 and 5000 feet.
Get to the coordinates, and the tinajas will be obvious to you.
Please remember that the tinajas that you are looking at are a precious water source to the animals in this desert region. Please do not pollute the area in any way, and be careful not to disturb any water that is contained in the tinajas. Thanks.
Have Fun! Post A Photo Of Yourself. Sometimes, things become misguided. Earthcaches and geocaches are supposed to be all about the fun and the experience of the location, and about performing simple tasks and getting into the spirit of the earthcache. Try to embrace the original spirit of this earthcache and use one of the most powerful tools available to the field scientist - the camera. Try to take a photo of yourself with one of the tinajas appearing in the background, as you stand in the stream bed, and post it with your find log. A photo used to be listed as a requirement for this earthcache (prior to 15 May 2011), and as the past logs show, it was fully supported without any protest or controversy. It is a simple task that has always been completely reasonable, with everyone being supportive of it. However today, a photo is not required, due to the poor administrative practice of levying control over a small benign detail that affects nothing outside of the individual earthcache.
For this earthcache, a photo is simply requested, and is in line with the spirit of this earthcache. Click here to see a photo example. I don't care about your GPSr being in the picture.
In order to claim this earthcache as a find, you must complete the following tasks.
Requirement #1 - Make Some Measurements: At the coordinates, you will find a prominent tinaja. The one I am talking about is the smaller one, the one in the example photo, not the one that has effectively become part of the dropoff and will no longer hold water. With your tape measure, measure the width of the tinaja at its widest point. Then measure the depth of the tinaja at its upstream side. With this information, make a calculated estimate of how much water the tinaja will hold.
Requirement #2 - Email Me The Measurements: Send an email to me that documents your measurements. The email should include the width measurement, the depth measurement, and your estimated water volume. Do not post your answers in your on-line log.
Logs not accompanied by email within a reasonable amount of time will be deleted per earthcache rules. I don't like doing that. So please be careful to get done what you need to get done.
You need to complete the requirements. They are not difficult and designed so that anyone can fulfill them. If you don't complete them, then you don't complete it. That's the way it is.
Remember Your Requirements:
Make Measurements, and
Send Your Answers In Email.
And Please Post A Photo Of Yourself If You Can.
I hope you have fun.
(No hints available.)
Last Updated: on 9/24/2015 12:54:10 PM Pacific Daylight Time (7:54 PM GMT)
Coordinates are in the WGS84 datum