This is not your typical geocache. It is an Earthcache. You will not find a "cache container" at the listed coordinates. An Earthcache is designed to bring you to a geological feature and educate you. Of course, as with any geocache you can earn a "find" if you complete the requirements listed at the bottom of the page.
THE BIG PICTURE
The Niagara Escarpment is a long escarpment, or cuesta, in the United States and Canada that runs westward from New York State, through Ontario, Michigan, Wisconsin and Illinois. Thus, Lannon is only a small segment of this extensive geologic structure. It is composed of the Lockport geological formation of Silurian age, and is similar to the Onondaga geological formation, which runs parallel to it and just to the south, through the western portion of New York and southern Ontario. The escarpment is most famous as the cliff over which the Niagara River plunges to form Niagara Falls, for which it is named.
The Niagara Escarpment is the most prominent of several escarpments formed in the bedrock of the Great Lakes. It is traceable from its easternmost point in New York State, starting well east of the Genesee River Valley near Rochester, creating one small and two large waterfalls on the Genesee River in that city, thence running westwards to the Niagara River forming a deep gorge north of Niagara Falls, which itself cascades over the escarpment. In Southern Ontario it stretches along the Niagara Peninsula hugging close to the Lake Ontario shore near the cities of St. Catharines and Hamilton and Milton where it takes a sharp turn north toward Georgian Bay. It then follows the Georgian Bay shore northwestwards to form the spine of the Bruce Peninsula, Manitoulin, St. Joseph Island and other islands located in northern Lake Huron where it turns westerwards into the Upper Peninsula of northern Michigan, south of Sault Ste. Marie. It then extends southwards into Wisconsin following the Door Peninsula and then more inland from the western coast of Lake Michigan and Milwaukee (including Lannon) ending northwest of Chicago near the Wisconsin-Illinois border. The diagram below notes only some of the more signigicant portions of the Niagara Escarpment, but not its complete extent.
Study of rock exposures and drillholes demonstrates that there is no displacement of the rock layers at the escarpment: this is not a fault line but the result of unequal erosion. The Niagara Escarpment has a caprock of dolomitic limestone ("dolostone") which is more resistant and overlies weaker, more easily eroded shale as a weathering-resistant "cap". In other words, the escarpment formed over millions of years through a process of differential erosion of rocks of different hardnesses. Through time the soft rocks weather away or erode by the action of streams. The gradual removal of the soft rocks undercuts the resistant caprock, leaving a cliff or escarpment. The erosional process is most readily seen at Niagara Falls, where the river has quickened the process. It can also be seen on the three waterfalls of the Genesee River at Rochester, New York (additional resistant rock layers make more than one escarpment in some places). Also, in some places thick glacial deposits conceal the Niagara Escarpment, such as north of Georgetown, Ontario, where it actually continues under glacial till and reappears farther north.
The dolostone cap was laid down as sediment on the floor of a marine environment. In Michigan, behind the escarpment, the cuesta capstone slopes gently to form a wide basin, the floor of an Ordovician-Silurian tropical sea. There the constant depositing of minute shells and fragments of biologically-generated calcium carbonate, mixed with sediment washing in by erosion of the virtually lifeless landmasses eventually formed a limestone layer. In the Silurian some magnesium substituted for some of the calcium in the carbonates, slowly forming harder sedimentary strata in the same fashion. Worldwide sea levels were at their all-time maximum in the Ordovician; as the sea retreated, erosion inevitably began.
After Lannon was settles in the 1830's limestone was mined and used for buildings and roads. The stone was easy mined near the earths surface and broke off into usable slabs. Soon thereafter, it was commercially mined. By 1855, there were more than a dozen quarries. Back then all jobs were associated with the dolostone or limestone industry. In fact, before Lannon got its present day name it was called, Stone City. Today only 20% of local jobs rely on the quarry companies.
As previously noted, the Niagara Escarpment is an immense geologic formation. However, all dolostone was not created with similar properties. There is a key to the success of the Lannon stone industry. Lannon stone is the strongest and most dense of all limestone found in North America. This makes it highly sought after around the world.
There are many active quarries in the area. The quarry at Menomonee County Park is now called, Trout Lake. A spring was struck and the quarry pit filled with water submerging a large crane at the bottom. There is a large piece of rusting equipment that rests on the shore of the south side of the lake.
There are other uses for limestone, as well. See my other Earthcache located in Menomonee Falls called, Menomonee Falls Lime Kiln, GC1KRDT, for more details.
LOGGING THIS EARTHCACHE
In order to log this earthcache you must complete task number one:
1. Email me the answers to these questions:
a. What major geological formation underlies Lannon?
b. Where does this feature start and end? Name the states, please.
c. The Niagara Escarpment caprock stone is called what? It is two words.
d. When was Lannon settled?
e. What was Lannon's first name?
2. Optional: Take a self photo with your GPS or your team with a GPS near ground zero with Trout Lake in the background. Then post the photo with your log. Have at least one person and a GPS in the photo. If you are geocaching alone, hold you camera at arms length to take a self photo, please.
Failure to complete the task as listed above (emailing the answers) will result in log deletion without notice.
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