IATCC - West Bend's "Living Fossils" Old Tales
Size:  (not chosen)
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This is not your typical geocache; it is an EarthCache. Instead of looking for a "cache container" you will be brought to a geological feature. Glacial Blue Hills Park. Hours 6AM-11PM. Parking Coords: N 43 26.650 W 88 12.841 (off Beaver Dam Rd). There's no "descriptive sign" at ground zero. Use text to answer some questions below. Stay on gravel/dirt roadway east to N 43 26.696 W 88 12.668 then northward.
This plant is considered a "living fossil" of what was once earth's dominant vegetation during the Mississipian and Pennsylvanian periods (also known as Carboniferous Period). Horsetails grew in huge forests 300 million years ago to heights of 50 to 100 feet. There are now about 15 species of horsetails - Equisetum, pronounced Eh kwa SEE tum - with the largest reaching over 30 feet with a hollow stem only an inch thick.
Those ancient horsetails became part of the coal seams of the late Paleozoic Age. Their fossils can be found in the coal seams. Although these Mississipian and Pennsylvanian coal seams were most certainly in Wisconsin, as they still remain in neighboring states, they have vanished here due to erosion. However, the horsetails were the first plants to become established after the glacier retreated here about 10,000 years ago, and these "living fossils" have remained.
EARTHCACHE INFORMATION: Bring a yardstick and your camera. To receive credit for this earthcache please do the following:
1) Walk about 1/4 mile in the park to the site location using the above coords. Spend a few minutes exloring the side trail (just off the main trail) through this "living fossil" area. Take a picture of your GPS with horsetails (and you/group if possible" and send along with answers to questions below. As of 1/1/11 photos are optional but appreciated.
2) Use your measuring stick/ruler to answer the following: The stem of a horsetail is _______feet tall; its diameter is ______inch(es). Five adjectives that describe the horsetail are ________,________,________,_________, and _____________.
3). Ancient horsetails became part of the __________ ______ of the __________________and __________________periods which are now absent in Wisconsin's rock layers.
You do NOT need to wait for confirmation from me before logging your find. Please do not make any reference to these answers in your log. Looking forward to seeing your picture.
IATCC is the cache designation to highlight a series of EarthCaches along the ICE AGE National Scenic TRAIL grouped into a special category called "COLDCACHE."
The Ice Age Trail is one of eleven National Scenic Trails designated by the National Park Service. This unique trail is entirely within the state of Wisconsin and follows along the terminal moraine of the most recent glacier which retreated about 10,000 years ago.
This project is supported by the Ice Age Trail Alliance (IATA). The goal is to bring more visitors to the trail and promote public awareness, appreciation, and understanding of Wisconsin’s glacial landscape. The IATA has created an awards program to encourage visits to the trail and ColdCache sites. This awards program is separate from, and in addition to, any other Geo- or EarthCache awards program.
More information on the Ice Age Trail Atlas, the Companion Guide, the ColdCache Project and Awards Program can be found at: (visit link)
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Coordinates are in the WGS84 datum