Leaning Towers Of... Arizona
In Arizona, United States
Size:  (not chosen)
How Geocaching Works
For this earthcache, you are going to visit a great overlook where you will see some cool pinnacles.
Just one thing worth noting - if you are allergic to wind, you may want to pass on this one.
Pinnacles are products of surface weathering and erosion by running water guided by deep joints/cracks in the rock. The pinnacles that you will observe for this earthcache are granite.
The joints (cracks) that you see in pinnacles serve as pathways through which water and tree roots penetrate the granite. Fracturing of the rock occurs when the water freezes and expands, and also by wedging by plant roots. This causes the joints to enlarge.
Along the joints, chemical decomposition from acidic rain water and snowmelt causes the mineral biotite to weather to clay. This weakens the interlocking mineral grains in the granite, causing it to break down into its major component minerals, quartz and feldspar.
Then running water flushes the weathered products from the joints, cutting them deeper and wider. The rock between the joints is left standing as pinnacles.
How To Complete This Earthcache:
Bring some thin string and a heavy weight!
The posted coordinates lead you to a popular scenic overlook in the Santa Catalina mountains, where you will see some good examples of pinnacles.
To get there, you need to take the Catalina Highway, which is a paved mountain road that runs north out of Tucson. There is a small fee ($5 or so) for recreational use. You completing an earthcache is recreational use.
At mile 14, you will reach the Windy Point scenic overlook. Plenty of parking is available. After you park, you will walk up to the overlook platform, which is located at the posted coordinates. The elevation here is around 6500 feet I believe.
When you get to the coordinates, look down over the side of the overlook platform toward the south/southeast. There you will see some well formed pinnacles.
Have Fun! Post A Photo Of Yourself. Sometimes, things become misguided. Earthcaches and geocaches are supposed to be all about the fun and the experience of the location, and about performing simple tasks and getting into the spirit of the earthcache. Try to embrace the original spirit of this earthcache and use one of the most powerful tools available to the field scientist - the camera. Try to take a photo of yourself with the pinnacles appearing in the background, and post it with your find log. A photo used to be listed as a requirement for this earthcache (prior to 15 May 2011), and as the past logs show, it was fully supported without any protest or controversy. It is a simple task that has always been completely reasonable, with everyone being supportive of it. However today, a photo is not required, due to the poor administrative practice of levying control over a small benign detail that affects nothing outside of the individual earthcache.
For this earthcache, a photo is simply requested, and is in line with the spirit of this earthcache. Click here to see a photo example. Is my photo rotated? Yeah, it sure is - for some reason it seems that I tilted the camera. I don't care about your GPSr being in the picture.
In order to claim this earthcache as a find, you must complete the following tasks.
Requirement #1 - Measure The "Lean": Man, those pinnacles sure do lean a lot! They are going to topple over! Wait, do they really lean? You need to find out. Basically, you need to establish the verticality of those pinnacles. An easy way to do that is with a plumb line, which is what the thin string and heavy weight is for, and which I describe how to do in red text below. If you have an alternate way to do the same thing, then do that. However, I want you to use some structured process to determine the verticality. Don't just say "well it looks like..." "Looking like" is not a good enough field exercise, and does not meet the spirit of earthcaching.
How to make your plumb line... Try to use thin strong string. Thin, because it is very windy here and thin string will be affected less by the wind than thick string. For the same reason, use a heavy weight. A half-ounce fishing weight won't do the trick in that wind. Use a brick. Tie your string to the top rail of the fencing there at the overlook. Tie the heavy weight to the bottom of the string so that it hangs near the floor of the overlook. If you do it right, you should end up with a taut vertical straight line through which you can sight the pinnacles. If the wind is giving you fits, figure it out. You're smart. Maybe tie an anchor line - that's what I would probably do.
Using the plumb line... Step back so that you can sight through the plumb line to the pinnacles below. Close one eye. Move left or right to try to line up the plumb line with the vertical joints in the pinnacles. Do they line up? Or are the joints at an angle to vertical? If so, how much of an angle would you estimate is there? Next, use the plumb line to sight various sections along the vertical sides of the pinnacles. In doing this, assess whether these rock towers are actually leaning, or are standing straight up.
If possible, take photos of your plumb line or the process that you follow, and upload them with your find log.
Requirement #2 - Email Me Your Findings: Send an email to me that documents your conclusions about the verticality of the pinnacles. Your email should provide answers to the questions listed in the red font above. Also your email must describe the process that you took to determine verticality. Do not post your answers in your on-line log.
Logs not accompanied by email within a reasonable amount of time will be deleted per earthcache rules. I don't like doing that. So please be careful to get done what you need to get done.
You need to complete the requirements. They are not difficult and are designed so that anyone can fulfill them. If you don't complete them, then you don't complete the earthcache. That's the way it is.
Remember Your Requirements:
Determine Verticality, and
Send Your Conclusions and Methods In Email.
And Please Post A Photo Of Yourself If You Can.
I hope you have fun.
(No hints available.)
Last Updated: on 3/6/2013 8:08:57 PM (UTC-08:00) Pacific Time (US & Canada) (4:08 AM GMT)
Coordinates are in the WGS84 datum