The Geological Formation of the Coon Den Falls
Typically, a river or in this case the Coon Den Branch, flows over a large step in the rocks which may have been formed by a fault line. Over a period of years, the edges of this shelf will gradually break away and the waterfall will steadily retreat upstream, creating a gorge of recession. Often, the rock stratum just below the more resistant shelf will be of a softer type, meaning undercutting, due to splashback, 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.
The Coon Den Branch originates high up on the White Rocks Mountain and flows from Lacy Trap Ridge. From there, it cuts through the rock (mostly limestone) and flows over the rock ledge to form the Falls.
Coon Den Branch becomes wider and more shallow just above waterfalls due to flowing over the rock shelf, and there is a deep pool just below the waterfall because of the kinetic energy of the water hitting the bottom.
The Coon Den falls are one of the highest in the area. Mother Nature took her sweet time creating this masterpiece. Maybe it was millions of years?
Which One AM I?
Waterfalls can be classified as to their shape, drop, height and width. Here is a common classification system: Block-the water descends from a relatively wide stream or river Cascade-the water descends a series of rock steps Cataract-a large waterfall Fan-the water spreads horizon ally as it descends while remaining in contact with bedrock Horsetail-descending water maintains some contact with bedrock Plunge-water descends vertically, losing contact with the bedrock surface Punchbowl-water descends in a constricted form, then spreads out in a wider pool Segmented-distinctly separate flows of water form as it descends Tiered-water drops in a series of distinct steps of falls Multi-step a series of waterfalls one after another of roughly the same size each with its own sunken pool
Some Of The Types
Note: refer to this classification when answering one of the questions below.
You will be on a well-defined but kind of steep trail to the falls. Is is about .5 mile but straight. No switchbacks here! You will follow the stream on your left up to the falls.
Besides taking a semi-tough hike you must do the following to receive credit for this Earthcache:
1. Email me with the answers to the these questions; A. What is the type (classification)of this waterfall?, B. Estimate the height and width (at the base) of the waterfall
2. Post a photo of your GPSr pointing to the base (the one you used to estimate the width) of the falls. While it would be nice, you do not have to have to show your face(s) in the photo.
We sincerely hope you have enjoyed your experience of The Coon Den Falls
This Earthcache was approved by the Geological Society of America
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