Please note - only messages sent through the message center will receive responses from me until late September, 2018 due to lack of internet access while I am traveling out of the country. I will send complete responses when I return.
Mount Rainier National Park is open all year. There is a $25 entrance fee, good for 7 days, for each vehicle entering the park unless you have a special pass such as an annual pass or a Golden Eagle Pass. Information about these passes can be obtained at the entry points to the park. Please park only in designated parking spots and do not leave the trails/sidewalks during your explorations.
This earthcache will take you near the bottom of Narada Falls where you can observe the full force of the falling water.
Note: on rare occasions, the pathway to the bottom of the falls may be closed. Usually you can get there in spite of snow or ice; however, I would recommend the use of some sort of support system to do that.
To log this earth cache, please do things in this order:
1. Walk down the trail to the posted coordinates near the bottom of the falls.
2. From the informational sign near the posted coordinates, answer the following question:
- what two types of rock are described?
3. After you look at the falls, use the cache page as a reference for answers to the following questions:
- In your opinion, Narada Falls is what type(s) of falls?
- Is the water from snowfields and inactive glaciers or from active glaciers? Explain your answer.
4. If you will be unable to send your answers at the same time your log is written, let me know when to expect your answers within a reasonable amount of time. Of course, it is less complicated for me if each person in your group sends in their own answers when they log their find.
5. A photo of you at the lower level with the falls in the background is required. If camera shy, use your name badge or your name written on a piece of paper at the site.
Andesite lava flows, caused by Mount Rainier eruptions, filled and hardened in ancient valleys cut into the older, tougher Tatoosh granodiorite. The Paradise River is eroding into the soft contact zone between these two rock formations as the water plunges over the andesite ledge at Narada Falls.
Snowfields and inactive glaciers melt into very clear water. Active glaciers grind rocks into fine powder called glacial powder. This material in suspension gives a gray, milky appearance to streams originating from active glaciers.
For some early visitors, the power of this waterfall suggested spiritual connections. They named it Narada after a powerful sage of Hindu mythology who acted as a messenger between human and divine realms.
At the end of the short trail, the entire 168-foot-high waterfall is visible. The vista is not only about dramatically falling water but also the rock that creates the steep drop. Here the Paradise River plunges over the edge of hard andesite lava that abuts much older rock. The lava’s cooling was accelerated by contact with the icy surface of the glacier that once filled this valley.
What is a Waterfall?
Simply put, a waterfall is a watercourse (stream, river, creek) that drops vertically. In other words, it flows over the edge of a cliff or down a slope.
Types of waterfalls are based on how the water falls or passes through its course, how much water is flowing, the surface beneath it and the geological processes that created it (geomorphology). These all together form a waterfall's unique shape, its fingerprint so to speak.
Combination, Cascade, Cataract and Ledge are some general terms relating to waterfalls:
COMBINATION - many waterfalls are a combination of more than one type of falls.
CASCADE – this is a commonly used term when referring to waterfalls and rightly so. The term "cascade" comes from the Italian word "cascada" which actually means "waterfall". A cascade type waterfall is defined by the surface beneath it. It is one of the most common as the surface beneath it is irregular. It is generally water that flows down in small steps or stages.
CATARACT - another word for waterfall but usually one that is large, very powerful and rushes down with force.
LEDGE - a geological formation influences the shape of the waterfall. It is a cliff that is relatively flat with some width at the top and is vertical or almost vertical.
The following shapes/types of falls are caused by water falling over Ledges:
BLOCK/SHEET - water from a wide river or stream drops over a ledge forming what appears to be a "sheet" of water. Ideally, it is not broken into segments at high water and it is observably wider than tall.
CLASSICAL - similar to Block; water drops over a ledge but is close to equal in width and height.
CURTAIN - similar to Block and Classical; water drops over a ledge but is taller than wide but not a Ribbon.
OVERHANGING LEDGE - another geological formation that influences shape of waterfall. It is a cliff that the water has eroded under it causing an obvious overhang resulting in the water free falling to the surface below.
PLUNGE/VERTICAL - water descends vertically without contact with the surface.
PUNCHBOWL - water falls through a constricted area and descends down into a pool of water. The water "punches" through and falls into a "bowl".
The following types of falls have unique features in that the water does not fall over Ledges like the ones described above:
CHUTE - a violent section of water is forced through a narrow passage due to cliff walls or large rocks. Depending on the descent angle, they may be classified as rapids rather than a waterfall. They are very common in canyons where the water is wall-to-wall.
FAN - water falls through a relatively narrow crest and spreads out and becomes wider as it descends.
HORSETAIL - water descends down remaining in contact with the surface most of the time.
PARALLEL/TWIN – Parallel falls happen when falls are side-by-side and fall similarly to each other. There can be two or more falls and can be from the same watercourse or from more than one watercourse. Twin falls are also side-by-side but do not have to be similar in type. Triple and more falls exist as well.
RIBBON - water descends in a narrow strip significantly taller than it is wide.
SCREE/TALUS - water flowing over a chaotic mix of rock debris on a slope and usually found at the base of a cliff or steep incline. Scree is usually when the rocks are smaller than a softball and talus is when they are larger than that.
SEGMENTED - pieces of land segment the river (same watercourse) causing the water to fall in sections.
SLIDE - water glides over a single slab of rock maintaining smooth continuous contact.
SLOT/KEYHOLE - water pushes through a narrow area before falling. A keyhole is a special slot as it has a rounded part at the bottom of the slot resembling the old fashioned keyholes. Some times the water has forced (eroded) out a part of the rock causing an actual hole that water falls from.
TIERED/STAIRCASE/MULTI-STEPPED - separate waterfalls falling consecutively and in close proximity. Any type of falls can be tiered.
VEIL - water falls over rocks (usually large) creating a thin layer of water that just barely covers its surface.