Size:  (not chosen)
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This Earthcache is located at a small road cut about 15’ tall on the south side of the I-80 frontage road. Access is either by taking exit 122 and heading east on the frontage road, or taking exit 130 and heading west. Please DO NOT park on the interstate to complete this Earthcache.
The rock at this road cut has begun forming cavities or hollows called tafoni. This process is also often called honeycomb weathering or cavernous weathering, and the structures called “wind holes”. Though not well understood, this is thought to occur mainly through a form of wind and water erosion.
In one hypothesis of how tafoni are created, moisture through the form of dew or precipitation enters these rocks and dissolves some of the harder minerals. These are leached to the surface, where the water evaporates leaving a coating or crust on the parent material. Some time later a piece of this outer crust breaks or weathers off and wind erosion begins to eat away at the softer material below. The rock eventually weathers to the form which you see here.
The rock through which the road passes is formed mainly from sandstone, with a little mudstone and shale mixed in. Tafoni is usually found to be associated with sedimentary rocks, such as sandstones.
To log this Earthcache, send me an email with the answers to the following questions:
1.) Which half of the road cut (east or west) contains the most tafoni?
2.) Relatively speaking, are most of the tafoni the same size, or is there a large size differential? Explain your answer.
Several areas with tafoni are located off of this frontage road and you are most welcome to take and post pictures of these. However, please do not post a picture of the road cut at this location which might give away answers to the requested questions.
The above information was compiled from the following sources:
Lageson, D.R., and Spearing, D.R. 2004. Roadside Geology of Wyoming, 2nd Edition.
Tafoni: (visit link)
(No hints available.)
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Coordinates are in the WGS84 datum