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EarthCache

That Old Sinking Feeling Earthcache

A cache by macdonr
Hidden : 2/28/2005
In Florida, United States
Difficulty:
2 out of 5
Terrain:
2.5 out of 5

Size: Size: other (other)

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Geocache Description:

This Earthcache is located at Devil's Millhopper Geological State Park, in Gainesville, Florida, USA. The 67 acre park features an enormous sinkhole nearly 120 feet deep and measuring some 500 feet across. A 232 step stairway allows visitors to descend into the sinkhole, and a half-mile nature trail encircles the rim of this National Natural Landmark.

The park is open from 9:00am to 5:00pm Wednesday through Sunday. It is closed on Monday and Tuesday. There is a self-service park admission fee of $4.00 per vehicle (up to eight visitors). The Earthcache can only be completed when the park is open. It is not necessary to descend into the sinkhole to complete the Earthcache.

Some 10,000 to 14,000 years ago, acidic rainwater soaking into the ground caused the limestone bedrock under the earth at this site to slowly dissolve, forming small cavities, which after thousands of years became a large cavern. As the cavern grew too large to support the weight of the overlying earth, the roof collapsed, forming the sinkhole. Today, small streams form waterfalls that cascade down the steep sides of the sinkhole, returning water to the aquifer.


Stream in Devil's Millhopper

Sinkholes are quite common in Florida, and Devil's Millhopper is one of the state's best known, having attracted visitors for over 120 years. The unique name dates from a time when farmers ground grain in grist mills. The mills had funnel-shaped hoppers which held the grain; the sinkhole has a similar shape. Many fossilized bones and teeth have been found at the bottom of the sinkhole, giving rise to the legend that the sink was used to feed bodies to the devil.

While at the park, stop at the visitor center to view the exhibits and an audio-visual program. Guided walks with a park ranger are available on Saturday mornings at 11:00am. The walk to and from the observation platform near the bottom of the sink (N 29° 42.435   W 082° 23.662) offers splendid views of the sinkhole and the forces that still shape the land.


Moss-covered Crevasses in Devil's Millhopper

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To claim credit for this cache
1) Visit Devils Millhopper Geological State Park, and locate the visitor center.
2) Have your photograph taken in front of the visitor center with your GPSr, so the distinctive top of the building is visible, as shown in the sample photo. For solo cachers, a photo of your hand holding your GPSr in front of the visitor center is certainly fine. If your GPSr and phone are in one unit (e.g., an iPhone with Geocaching app), a creative photo of your choosing at the site is also acceptable.
3) Immediately before logging your find, e-mail the answers to the following three questions using this link. Do not post the answers in your log!

Question 1 - The middle of the visitor center features an open air audio-visual room (behind the ranger station). Around the room are six exhibit panel walls and the audio/visual screen. Fill in the blanks to identify the exhibit panel titles arranged clockwise from the entrance:

     _ _ _ _ _ _ _

     Survival

     _ _ _    _ _ _ _ _ _    _ _ _ _ _ _ _

     Record of the Ancient Past

     _ _ _    _ _ _ _   . . .   _ _ _    _ _ _    _ _    _ _ _ _?

     (the audio/visual screen panel)

     Water ... For Life and Enjoyment of the Millhopper

Question 2 - In the visitor center audio-visual room, according to the Record of the Ancient Past panel, where are the bones and teeth of land animals found within the sinkhole?

Question 3 - A plaque is located at N 29° 42.416   W 082° 23.696 near the top of the boardwalk steps. What does this plaque commemorate?

4) Upload your photograph(s) when you log your find. Logs without at least one photograph will be deleted, hence the (albeit modest) difficulty rating.

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View Into Sinkhole

Observation Platform

View From Sinkhole
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Please Note: Newly-formed sinkholes can be dangerous, as catastrophic changes to terrain can result without warning. Do not explore sinkholes of unknown origin or stability.

Information for this Earthcache was gathered from several sources, including literature available at the park and the Devil's Millhopper Geological State Park website.


Click to visit the Florida Geocaching Association


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Inventory

There are no Trackables in this cache.

 

Find...

321 Logged Visits

Found it 310     Didn't find it 2     Write note 8     Post Reviewer Note 1     

View Logbook | View the Image Gallery of 377 images

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Current Time:
Last Updated: on 4/5/2014 12:45:52 PM Pacific Daylight Time (7:45 PM GMT)
Rendered From:Unknown
Coordinates are in the WGS84 datum