Cacapon - Oriskany Sandstone Earthcache
In West Virginia, United States
Size:  (not chosen)
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An Earth Cache set in Cacapon State Park that educates you and tests your knowledge together with taking you to a very interesting place.
Learn about Sandstone, in particular Oriskany Sandstone in this area and enjoy
what you learn and what you see.
Note: For safety please park at the given PARKING co-ordinates - do NOT stop on the road near the cache site and please ensure at all times you take care near the road and ensure children are kept with you and safe.
The co-ordinates at the top of the page will take you to an Information Post about Oriskany Sandstone and also brings you close to a fine example of it. You will need to go to this location to be able to answer all the questions and be able to log this Earth Cache.
Oriskany Sandstone is a fine to coarse grained sandstone and is a quartz rich arenite, it is a very old Sandstone that was deposited 345 - 400 million years ago in the Devonian period.
It has the characteristic of having reservoirs and this is evidenced by the production of natural gas. This sandstone can be seen to have crossbedding features and can be interbedded with thin layers of limestone and another feature can be thin layers containing fossil moulds, although I personally did not see any evidence of this at this example.
When exposed to weathering Oriskany Sandstone can often be easily crumbled and that is one reason why it is not generally used in construction, however, this particular sandstone has a high level of Silica - at least 98% and this makes it a valuable resource for using in high grade/quality glass manufacturing and has been mined in the area for many years.
The formation of sandstone starts when a layer or layers of sand accumulate and settle. Once it has accumulated, the sand becomes compacted by overlying deposits and cemented by the precipitation of minerals within the pore spaces between sand grains becoming sandstone.
The Oriskany Sandstone is a thin/thick bedded fine/coarse-grained sandstone, it is not generally cemented, locally the cement is irregularly distributed. Some sandstone beds have a banded appearance caused by layers alternating between tightly cemented and poorly cemented areas. Lattice patterns can result where cemented bands form at right angles to bedding as well as parallel to bedding. Fractures may have caused transverse bands, as they are parallel to fractures in the formation.
Although there is a mixed colouration here the mined sandstone can be very white.
At the co-ordinates and the immediate surrounding area you will see the fine example of the Oriskany Sandstone - There are, at all times of year, evidence of plant and animal life here - do have a look and you will be surprised at what you see and feel free to take photographs to post with your log entry.
Cacapon State Park
Cacapon Resort State Park is in the shadows of the Cacapon Mountain over an area of 6,000 acres and offers Year Round outdoor getaways and has golfing, lake activites, hiking opportunities and some fantastic trails and a variety of accomodation. It is a beautiful location so do ensure you have plenty of time to appreciate and take advantage of all it has to offer.
Ten miles away from Cacapon State Park is Berkeley Springs State Park, and here you can find natural springs where the water that travels through the Oriskany Sandstone can be used and found - the water flows through the Oriskany Sandstone of Warm Spring Ridge and out along it's base where it is at a consistent temperature of 74 degrees Fahrenheit. Since the 1750's it has been used internally for digestive disorders and the relief of stress. The area was frequently visited by George Washington and you can see the bathtub that he used in 1748 within the park.
Another lovely place worth dedicating some time to visit and explore.
To log the cache you need to send the answers and requirements to the questions and tasks set out below to me through the messaging system on my profile on this site:
1. At the above co-ordinates, looking at the example of Oriskany Sandstone, describe the colouration of it?
2. Using your GPSr what is the approximate elevation from sea level at this point?
3. The main part of this example of Oriskany Sandstone lies at approx what degree? Is it approx 180, 135, 90 or 45 degrees?
4. There are at all times of year evidence of plants, trees growing amongst the Oriskany Sandstone, give details of one of these?
5. Estimate the height of this example of sandstone and on looking at it would you say it is cemented or uncemented?
6. What natural element is produced by this sandstone and in excess of what quanitity?
Please feel free (but not obliged) to take a photograph showing you and/or your gps in front of the lake opposite the Oriskany Sandstone or on the James Ambrose Bridge near the parking co-ordinates. PLEASE DO NOT POST SPOILER PICTURES OF THE ACTUAL CACHE SITE.
(No hints available.)
Last Updated: on 9/7/2014 5:30:55 PM Pacific Daylight Time (12:30 AM GMT)
Coordinates are in the WGS84 datum