Black Moshannon State Park
In Pennsylvania, United States
Size:  (not chosen)
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ALL required tasks MUST be completed in order to earn this earthcache. If you submit a log without meeting the requirements, your log will be DELETED. You are welcome to email me for help as needed BEFORE submitting your log. If your log is deleted, please resubmit it when the tasks are completed. Enjoy the journey (learning adventure) as well as the destination (smiley earned). Take only pictures, leave only footprints.
To get credit for this Earthcache, please complete the following tasks:
1. Post a picture of yourself at any point along the boardwalk bog trail.
NOTE: The picture is your log signature verifying you visited the cache.
EMAIL me your answers to the following tasks. DO NOT post answers in your log.
2. Black Moshannon Creek (along the road to the bog) is mostly open water, whereas the Bog Area is filled with plants. The posted coordinates are for the observation platform along the Bog Trail. What is the estimated percentage of open water as observed from this location?
3. Why are the waters black? (This answer is found at an information sign along the trail.)
4. What is a Wetland? (This answer is found at an information sign along the trail.)
5. What is the temperature on the day you visited this cache? (Philipsburg, PA Zip code 16866)
HALL OF FAME - OPTIONAL QUESTIONS
6. What is the average depth of the Creek? What is the average depth of the Bog?
7. What is the difference between a Marsh, a Bog, and a Swamp?
8. Answer BRAIN BOGGLERS located on signs along the path.
a. Marsh to Bog to Swamp ... b. Special Kind of Moss ... c. Tough to be a Bog Plant ... d. Beyond the Bog Stumps and Change ... e. Home Sweet Bog ... f. Summer Lake Dwellers ... g. Wayfaring Waterfowl
You do not need to wait for confirmation from me to post your log.
I will email you if you have done an outstanding job
(including completing all optional activities),
-or- if you have not met the requirements to earn your smiley.
BLACK MOSHANNON STATE PARK surrounds Black Moshannon Lake, formed by a dam on Black Moshannon Creek. A bog in the park provides a habitat for diverse wildlife such as carnivorous plants, orchids, and species normally found farther north. Trails and a boardwalk help people explore the birds and plants of the bog and surrounding forests. As home to the "largest reconstituted bog/wetland complex in Pennsylvania", the park was chosen by the Pennsylvania Bureau of Parks for its "Twenty Must-See Pennsylvania State Parks" list.
GEOLOGY AND CLIMATE
The rocks underlying the Black Moshannon Creek drainage basin are primarily shale, sandstone, and coal. Three major rock formations are present in Black Moshannon State Park, all from the Carboniferous period. These sedimentary rocks formed in or near shallow seas roughly 300 to 350 million years ago. The Mississippian Burgoon Formation is composed of buff-colored sandstone and conglomerate. The late Mississippian Mauch Chunk Formation is formed with grayish-red shale, siltstone, sandstone, and conglomerate. The third is the early Pennsylvanian Pottsville Formation, which is a gray conglomerate that may contain sandstone, siltstone, and shale, as well as anthracite coal.
The park is atop the Allegheny Plateau, just west of the Allegheny Front, an escarpment which steeply rises 1,300 feet (400 m) in 4 miles (6.4 km), and marks the transition between the Ridge-and-Valley Appalachians to the east and the Allegheny Plateau to the west. The Allegheny Plateau and Appalachian mountains were all formed in the Alleghenian orogeny some 300 million years ago, when Gondwana (modern Europe and Africa) collided with North America, forming Pangaea.
The lake within the park is at an elevation of about 1,900 feet (580 m), and the park itself sits in a natural basin. The basin and the underlying sandstone trap water and thus form the lake and surrounding bogs. The higher elevation leads to a cooler climate, and the basin helps trap denser, cooler air, leading to longer winters and milder summers.
The cooler climate also means the park is home to animals and plants typically found much further north. The Allegheny Plateau has a continental climate, with occasional severe low temperatures in winter and average daily temperature ranges of 20 °F (11 °C) in winter and 26 °F (14 °C) in summer. In 1972, long-term average monthly temperatures ranged from a high of 66.8 °F (19.3 °C) in July to a low of 26.2 °F (-3.2 °C) in January. The mean annual precipitation for the Black Moshannon Creek watershed is 40 to 42 inches (1016 to 1067 mm). The soil in the park is mostly derived from sandstone and as such does not have much capacity to neutralize acid rain.
BOG NATURAL AREA
There is a handicap accessible boardwalk hiking trail that loops through the bog at the park passing by lilies, sedges, rushes, Leatherleaf, and various carnivorous plants. Visitors may observe waterfowl and wildlife in the bogs.
The bogs at the park contain large amounts of sphagnum moss, which decomposes very slowly, causing layers of dead moss to build up at the bottom of the bog, creating peat.
Most bogs exist in glaciated areas, but Black Moshannon State Park is on the Allegheny Plateau. This area was not covered by glaciers during the last ice age. The bogs formed here because of the beds of sandstone that lie flat, a short distance below the surface of the earth. The sandstone formations in the park do not absorb water very well, so any depression in them will collect water, as has happened here. The bogs extend the shores of the lake. Migratory shorebirds that visit here include Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs, Least Sandpiper, Solitary Sandpiper, and the Spotted Sandpiper, which has been confirmed as using the bog area as a breeding ground.
The water in the bog is low in nutrients and high in acidity, which makes it difficult for most plants to live there. Only specialized plants can thrive in the park bogs. There are three species of carnivorous plants and seventeen varieties of orchid. Wild cranberries and blueberries grow in the bog along with sedges, Leatherleaf shrubs, Arctic Cotton Grass, and viburnums.
Twenty Must-See Pennsylvania State Parks
Don't Get Bogged Down (GC155E4) is an excellent puzzle cache that requires solving a simple crossword puzzle. All the the puzzle answers are revealed along the first 0.3 miles of the trail, which include a beautiful lakeside boardwalk. Parking is available at the trailhead. Thank you JBT for permission to place this earthcache.
Enjoy the journey as well as the destination.
Congratulations George1 for FTF.
(No hints available.)
Last Updated: on 7/19/2014 4:15:53 PM Pacific Daylight Time (11:15 PM GMT)
Coordinates are in the WGS84 datum