Echo Valley Echoes
In Iowa, United States
Size:  (not chosen)
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Echo Valley State Park is located southeast of West Union, Iowa, and is managed by the Fayette County Conservation Board.
You will be seeing some of the finest terrain northeast Iowa has to offer. The landform region known as the Paleozoic Plateau is known for its hills, limestone outcrops and coldwater trout streams. You will be treated to views of each. You will traverse the "backbone" of the park that is between two coldwater trout streams: Otter Creek and Glover Creek.
The prominent feature in the Paleozoic Plateau region is the hard, fairly resistant bedrock. Other Earth materials have since weathered away and have left the bold "backbone" of dolomite for our pleasure. The rugged topography of this area, in stark contrast to the Iowan surface adjacent to it which is tillable, provided for it to be preserved as a park.
The deeply dissected bedrock topography is dominated by steep rock bluffs with numerous rock outcrops, slump blocks, cliffs, sinkholes, caves, algific slopes, springs and steep valleys.
The Silurian age bedrock of Fayette County is composed of dolomite and limestone. At most places in eastern Iowa, Silurian rocks are completely dolomitized, with no trace of original limestone remaining (as seen in some of Iowa’s most picturesque state parks such as Palisades-Kepler, Backbone, and Maquoketa Caves). However, in areas of Fayette County, true Silurian limestones are found, undolomitized strata that somehow escaped the regional effects of pervasive dolomitization. Limestone is created as lime deposits settled on a shallow seafloor. Over time limestone can be converted to dolomite (calcium-magnesium carbonate.) In this park, some of the original limestone (calcium carbonate) remain without being completely converted to dolomite. There are places when the layers can be readily seen.
The coordinates will take you to a Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) constructed shelter. The CCC was a public work relief program that operated from 1933 to 1942 in the United States for unemployed, unmarried men, ages 17–23. A part of the New Deal of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, it provided unskilled manual labor jobs related to the conservation and development of natural resources in rural lands owned by federal, state and local governments. The CCC was designed to provide employment for young men in relief families who had difficulty finding jobs during the Great Depression while at the same time implementing a general natural resource conservation program in every state.
Park near the first coordinates in the designated parking lot and plan to walk the rest of the way to the other stops. To receive credit for this EarthCache, please email the answers to the questions to the cache owner. If you feel so inclined, please consider including a picture of you and/or your group for others to see the breath-taking scenery.
Proceed to Point 1:
Point 1: Follow the path to the beginning of the "Backbone Scenic Trail"
N 42 56.782 W 091 46.419
There is nothing to answer here, this is just a waypoint so you are on the right track. Consider calling out the word "echo" and listening for the echo. The story behind the name of the park is that local people found that calling out from the backbone often allowed for a return of three echoes of the words uttered.
Continue up the hill to Point 2.
Point 2: N 42 56.849 W 091 46.524
Get an elevation reading and report it. This is the top of the resistant bedrock dolomite. Describe the texture of the rock here.
Continue on the trail down to Otter Creek, where years of erosion have carried away the less resistant Earth materials to create the stream valley.
Point 3: N 42 56.856 W 91.46.512
Determine the elevation here and report the difference between Points 2 & 3. Then look up the cliff side and describe the look of the layers seen. You will be able to recognize distinct layers that are the differences between dolomite and limestone.
(No hints available.)
Last Updated: on 9/22/2013 4:41:40 PM Pacific Daylight Time (11:41 PM GMT)
Coordinates are in the WGS84 datum