Venta Fall EarthCache
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The Venta Fall is located in the center of Kuldiga, an old 13th century town. Although the waterfall is a part of the Venta nature park, it is easily accessible and serves as a good bathing ground during summer time.
In the vicinity of Kuldiga the river Venta forms up to 58 m deep valley. In the middle of it the great fall create major interest of tourists and nature travelers. Venta fall is called the Europe’s longest waterfall. It is 270-275 meters long if measured along the top line of the cliff. The height is different in different places of the fall and during different times of the year. It varies between 1.8 and 2.2 meters high.
Venta fall is a significant geologic-geomorphologic object in the valley of the river Venta. The fall had developed as a result of geological processes by water falling from the hard dolomites of Plavinas series down on dolomites with sandstone and clay layers and eroding them.
Waters of Venta river have made its way through the fall over the hard rocks of dolomite of the Riezupe seam (part of Plavinas series). These dolomite layers have been developed during devon period (410 – 355 million years ago), when most of the territory of Latvia was covered by an ancient sea. Dolomite layers are made in a way similar to well known coral reef bariers. Beyond the main fall in the river bed, there are several smaller falls down the stream.
Under the upper layers of the river bed some more fragile, close-grained layers of dolomite with limestone and clay streaks are formed. The constant stream of water is washing the lower layers out and the heaviest upper rocks are falling down at times, thus constantly changing the shape and making the waterfall „move” against the flow. This process takes hundreds of years and isn’t visible to a human eye, but the scientists forecast, that in far future the falls can become lower and less distinct because of this process.
As a natural barrier in fish migration Venta falls has facilitated from the heritage point of view development of interesting fishing styles of salmon and vimba by using specially construed weirs. For the purpose of installing weirs and fishing there are gutters cut in the dolomites of falls. In time of fish migration (late March and end of October) visitors can observe the migrating fish surmounting the fall.
On the right bank of the river you will find a channel, which stays here as a monument of human attempts to change the nature for economical wellbeing of mankind. First the Duke Jakob of Kurzeme in 17th century started to build the channel to make a shipping bypass around the waterfall, meanwhile trying to blast the falls to obtain the dolomite material for construction. The process was left unfinished, because walls of the nearby castle started to crack, and the construction of the channel was stopped. Next, in the l9th century the government of tsarist Russia continued digging of the channel thus implementing a magnificent project of joining the Baltic, the White, the Black and the Caspian Seas as a result of which Russian inland- waters would be interconnected, and Venta basin would connected with Nemuma and Dubis rivers. Because of economic reasons this project also ended unfinished.
200 meters down from the faterwall you will see an architectural monument of national importance - the ancient brick bridge across the river Venta. It was built in 1874 and is one of the longest brick bridges in Europe, constructed according to the standards of the l9th century - 500 feet (153m) long and 26 feet wide (8, 0 m), appropriate for two carriages going in opposite directions.
To register the Earthcache as found you must:
1) Take a photo of the fall with you holding your GPS in the foreground. at the coordinates N 56º58.207 E 21º58.634 (approximately middle of the bridge).
2) Send me the answer to the question: how many smaller falls do you see in the river down from the main fall looking to both sides of the bridge?
3) You can register your find after you have sent your answers to me. I can contact you later if I have some doubt.
(No hints available.)