Nairn Falls Earthcache
In British Columbia, Canada
Size:  (not chosen)
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Welcome to an incredible area that is just 20 minutes north of Whistler where you can find the beautiful Nairn Falls Provincial Park. This park is a great base camp that you can use to go and explore Whistler, the Pemberton Valley or the nearby Garibaldi Provincial Park. It is also an excellent overnight stop where there is 94 camping spots if you have been traveling for a long time and you plan to continue onto the Duffey Lake Road or points north or south for the following day.
What makes this park so special? Well to begin with the park has been a long and old spiritual site for the Lil'wat Nation (members of one of the Four Host First Nations for the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympic Games). The park also presents some incredible examples of water erosion in the pothole that have been created in the rocks and that is what this earthcache is going to be focusing on. As well the park has a special resident the rubber boa. At 45cm/18in long, it is just a little boa but it has the distinction of being one of the most cold-tolerant snakes in the world. It's grey or brown with blunt ends, like a big worm. Our little friend can be very hard to spot at times, especially when there are a lot of tourists around, but if you do get the chance to see him take lots of pictures but please don’t try to touch him.
To reach the designated coordinates you will be going on a short hike along the river. The trail is roughly around 3kms long and it is a wide easy to follow trail. Anyone, even if you are not in the best of shape, can reach the viewing platform within a half an hour.
Waterfalls are most commonly formed when a river is young or hasn’t been around for a long period of time (geographically speaking and not in human lifespan time) At these times the channel is often narrow and deep. When the river courses over resistant bedrock, erosion happens slowly, while downstream the erosion occurs more rapidly. As the watercourse increases its velocity at the edge of the waterfall, it plucks material from the riverbed. Whirlpools created in the turbulence as well as sand and stones carried by the watercourse increase the erosion capacity. This causes the waterfall to carve deeper into the bed and to recede upstream. Often over time, the waterfall will recede back to form a canyon or gorge downstream as it recedes upstream, and it will carve deeper into the ridge above it. The rate of retreat for a waterfall can be as high as one and half meters per year.
Often, the rock stratum just below the more resistant shelf will be of a softer type, meaning that undercutting due to splash-back will occur here to form a shallow cave-like formation known as a rock shelter or plunge pool under and behind the waterfall. Eventually, the outcropping, more resistant cap rock will collapse under pressure to add blocks of rock to the base of the waterfall. These blocks of rock are then broken down into smaller boulders by attrition as they collide with each other, and they also erode the base of the waterfall by abrasion, creating a deep plunge pool or gorge.
Streams become wider and shallower just above waterfalls due to flowing over the rock shelf, and there is usually a deep pool just below the waterfall because of the kinetic energy of the water hitting the bottom. Waterfalls normally form in a rocky area due to erosion. After a long period of being fully formed, the water falling off the ledge will retreat, causing a horizontal pit parallel to the waterfall wall. Eventually, as the pit grows deeper, the waterfall collapses to be replaced by a steeply sloping stretch of river bed.
A river sometimes flows over a large step in the rocks that may have been formed by a fault line. Waterfalls can occur along the edge of a glacial trough, whereby a stream or river flowing into a glacier continues to flow into a valley after the glacier has receded or melted. The large waterfalls in Yosemite Valley are examples of this phenomenon, which is referred to as a hanging valley. Another reason hanging valleys may form is where two rivers join and one is flowing faster than the other.
To Get Credit For this Earthcache please answer the following questions and email them to me. As a result of this being an Earthcache THERE IS NO CONTAINER TO FIND. The posted coordinates will take you to a viewing platform and from there you will be able to, with your camera, to get the answers and the pictures that you need to complete this cache.
#1 Take a picture of yourself and or just of your GPS at GZ and include it in your log when you hear back from me if your answers are correct
#2 Please take a picture of ATLEAST ONE of spot that you see in the waterfall that shows some physical sign of water erosion and include it in your log.
#3 Do you think the Nairn Waterfalls has the same amount of water flowing throughout the year or do you think it changes depending on the season. Email me your answer.
#4 How many years ago was this area still part of a vast ocean that covered much more of the Earth than it does today?
#5 What is the name of the river that brought much of the sand and gravel that wore away the bedrock at ground zero?
For the last question you need to head to the following waypoint N 50° 17.343 W 122° 49.960
#6 How high do you think the spray is going at the bottom of the falls?
Email me your answers for questions #3 – 6 and once you have heard back from me you can go a head and log your find with the requested pictures from the first two questions.
I am a proud
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Last Updated: on 8/31/2014 10:10:20 PM Pacific Daylight Time (5:10 AM GMT)
Coordinates are in the WGS84 datum