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EarthCache

Menomonee Falls Tamarack Swamp

A cache by Doctor Dolittle
Hidden : 1/6/2009
In Wisconsin, United States
Difficulty:
2 out of 5
Terrain:
1 out of 5

Size: Size: not chosen (not chosen)

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Geocache Description:

The tamarack swamp is 1100 acres of officially mapped wetland, 600 acres are owned by the Village of Menomonee Falls. It is located west of Pilgrim Road and is bisected by Good Hope Road. This find is very winter friendly!


This is not your typical geocache-it is an earthcache. You will not find a "cache container" at the listed coordinates. An earthcache is designed to bring you to a geological feature and educate you. Of course, as with any geocache you can earn a "find" if you complete the requirements listed at the bottom of the page.

 

 

OVERVIEW

Rich tamarack swamp is a groundwater-influenced, minerotrophic, forested wetland dominated by the tamarack tree (Larix laricina) that occurs on deep organic soils predominantly in central and southeastern Wisconsin. See the State diagram. Ground-influenced means tamarack swamp are typically fed by groundwater.  Minerotrophic refers to the fact that the groundwater supplying the swamp is a laden with minerals like calcium and magnesium.

TOPOGRAPHY

The effects of the advancing and retreating glaciers can be seen in the headlands of Cape Cod, the Finger Lakes of New York, and the hills of Michigan, but nowhere is the glacier's mark upon the land more impressive than in Wisconsin.The last glacier in Wisconsin ended 10,000 to 15,000 years ago. Glaciers produced much of the landscape in Wisconsin including the tamarack swamp in Menomonee Falls. Rich tamarack swamps occur in drainage channels, outwash plains, and kettle depressions formed from a rapidly receding glacier. See the diagram of a glacier's edge below. Drainage channels are rivers of water and sediment formed by the melting ice. The outwash plain contains glacial sediments from the drainage channel. Lastly, as the glacier retreats it may also leave huge pieces of itself behind. These ice blocks left may be many hectares in diameter.  As the blocks melt they form a depressions in the earth called kettles. See the diagram below.

The tamarack swamp is often found where groundwater seeps occur at the bases of moraines. Moraines are deposits of soil left behind at the edges of the glacier; they often form ridges or rolling hills. Rich tamarack swamps typically occur in association with headwater streams and adjacent to inland lakes. However, the one here in Menomonee Falls does not. As you drive around the tamarack swamp here, it is clear the entire swamp lies in a gentle depression.

SOIL TYPE

The organic (being composed of decayed plant material) soils underlying rich tamarack swamp are typically comprised of peat mosses containing large amounts of woody debris and occasionally layers of grass or rush-dominated peat. The soil profile often contains or is underlain by marl, a calcium carbonate precipitate that accumulates as sediment in shallow lake bottoms. Sediments deposited by the glacier in southern Wisconsin are typically high in calcium and magnesium. The groundwater flowing through these sediments becomes laden with these minerals and is termed minerotrophic.  As a result, groundwater discharge into rich tamarack swamp has high levels of alkalinity and dissolved calcium and magnesium carbonates.

Due to anaerobic (oxygen lacking) conditions associated with the intermittent high water table and organic soils, trees growing in rich tamarack swamps are often shallowly rooted, making them susceptible to falling in the wind. Thus, it is normal to see many downed trees.

NATURAL PROCESSES

Due to the strong influence of groundwater, water levels in rich tamarack swamps tend to fluctuate less than in many other wetland types. Although rich tamarack swamp is partly groundwater fed, seasonal water-level fluctuations are common with water levels highest in spring and lowest in late summer and fall.  The Menomonee Falls tamarack swamp is typically quite dry in the late summer and fall so that you can easily walk into most of the swamp without getting wet.

THREATS

Protecting the hydrology (movement of water) of rich tamarack swamp is critical for its continued existence and may include avoiding surface water inputs to the community from drainage ditches and agricultural fields, clearing blocked road culverts, which can cause prolonged flooding, and maintaining native vegetation types in the uplands surrounding the community.

 

LOGGING THIS EARTHCACHE

In order to log this earthcache you must complete task number one:

1.    Email me the answers to these questions:

a.    What does the term minerotrophic mean?

b.    Tamarack swamps typically occur in what three types of glacial formations?

c.    Is this tamarack swamp alkaline or acidic?

d.    Does the water level in the Menomonee Falls tamarack swamp remain static year round?

2.    Optional: Take a self photo with your GPS or your team with a GPS at ground zero with the tamarack swamp in the background. Then post the photo with your log. Try to get at least one person and a GPS in the photo. See the previously posted photos! If you are geocaching alone, hold you camera at arms length to take a self photo, please.

Failure to complete task number one as listed above (emailing the answers) will result in log deletion without notice.


Become a member of the new Earthcache Masters Program. Visit three or more earthcache sites to start receiving collectable pins. There are four levels: bronze, silver, gold and platinum. It is free and easy to participate. Check out the details!  Find earthcache listings near you.

 

 

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Inventory

There are no Trackables in this cache.

 

Find...

147 Logged Visits

Found it 139     Write note 7     Publish Listing 1     

View Logbook | View the Image Gallery of 115 images

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Current Time:
Last Updated: on 8/16/2014 5:25:19 PM Pacific Daylight Time (12:25 AM GMT)
Rendered From:Unknown
Coordinates are in the WGS84 datum