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Rumford Falls Earthcache EarthCache

Hidden : 07/14/2008
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Geocache Description:

This is an Earthcache. There is no cache container at this site.

The Androscoggin River flows approximately 167 miles from its source at Umbagog Lake on the Maine / New Hampshire border to Merrymeeting Bay where 4.2 billion gallons of fresh water are dumped into the Atlantic Ocean each day.

Many geologists speculate that, prior to the last ice age which began 70,000 years ago and ended 10,000 years ago, the ancestral Androscoggin River flowed from Bethel through the Sebago Lake basin and then entered the Atlantic Ocean. The glacial ice, however, changed the course of the river and brought it through Rumford. This change in course created a 176 foot waterfall that earlier settlers called Pennacook Falls. Now known simply as Rumford Falls, it is the highest waterfall east of Niagara Falls in New York State.

Although the river drops a total of 176 feet over solid granite, dams have split the once continuous cascading waters into several distinct sections. In the early 1880s, Hugh Chisholm visited the falls for the first time and recognized the power that could be harnessed from the water. He initiated an engineering study that showed the 2320 square miles of above falls drainage coupled with the 163 foot initial drop could provide a minimum of 35,000 horsepower. By 1892, Chisholm had established the Rumford Falls Light and Water Company which built the first hydroelectric plant on the great falls.

The fact that dams have changed the current profile of the waterfall does not diminish its beauty or its geological significance.

To get logging rights for this Earthcache, you must fulfill two requirements.

1. Post a picture of yourself or your GPSr with the waterfall in the background.

2. Also, use the link on the BabyBugs’ profile page to e-mail the answer to the following question. The waterfall has flowed freely over the 176 foot granite drop for thousands of years; how has the addition of man-made dams changed the flow and how has it affected the 13 acre pool at the base of the main falls?

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