Welcome to the Dickinson Spring Taste Test! At this site, you'll find yourself facing an Artestian Well. The water from the well in front of you has been running 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, for 72 years. Nobody is pumping this water. It flows thanks to a natural process of pressure that pushes the water up through a pipe that was drilled deep into the earth 94 years ago. You might be wondering how the water flows up. After all, water usually flows down, right? But there, right in front of you, water is shooting up through the earth.
Well, to get a better idea of how the water is pushed up through the earth from below, take a look at the diagram. Basically, the earth below you is made of layers, called strata. These layers are like a set of sheets and blankets covering a bed. And just like blankets on a bed, the strata below you can be different thicknesses, colors, and textures. Some of the layers of the earth are rock hard, and water can't get through them. Layers like this are called impervious strata. If the layer is made of a softer material, however, water can go through it. These layers are called pervious strata. Some layers of the earth far below you are filled with water.
This is a slight simplification, but sometimes you have places where rock hard impervious layers lie above and below a pervious layer of the earth filled with water. The heavy impervious stratum above the water is pushing down on the water. If you drill a hole through this top layer, the water, which is getting pushed down, will shoot up through the hole you've made. If you run a pipe down that hole, the water will shoot up through the pipe and come rushing to the surface of the earth. That is how this well in front of you works.
While you're here, you may see people come up to the well to drink, or fill bottles to bring back home. Many people believe the water from Artestian wells is good for your health. Others believe it simply tastes great. Did you bring your bottle of water? It's time to take the Dickinson Spring Taste Test!
You probably know some people who like to drink bottled water that comes from a store. Many people believe that bottled water is healthier and tastes better than ordinary tap water that comes from your faucet at home. In repeated experiments, however, local tap water is often shown to be as healthy or healthier than expensive bottled water. And in taste tests, where people don't know which type of water they are drinking, local tap water does very well competing against bottled water sold in stores.
Well, what about water from this Dickinson Spring? Let's conduct a quick taste test! To conduct this experiment, you'll need two cups and a bottle containing either tap water from home or some bottled water from any store. Fill one cup with water from the Dickinson Spring. Fill the other cup with some of the tap or bottled water your brought with you.
Take a drink from both cups. Does either one have an odor? Notice the taste. In some well water, you can taste a "mineraly" or earthy taste. What about this well water? Which water do you like best?
If you have a friend with you, you can make this even a stronger test by making it a "blind" test. While you look away or close your eyes, have your friend remember which water is in which cup (or mark the two cups on the bottom to identify them), then give you the cups without you knowing which one is which. Taking the test this way is more valid because in a blind test your ideas and preconceptions about which water tastes better don't affect the results.
To get credit for this Earthcache, you must do three things:
1. Bring two cups and a bottle with tap water from home or bottled water from the store. Perform the experiment listed above. In your log for the cache, note your results. At a minimum, note the type of water you tested the Dickinson water against, which one you liked better, and whether you did a blind test or not.
2. Email me your altitude at this Earthcache.
3. Read the sign at the site. Using this information, email me name of the person who had the well dug in 1916 (hint: it's not Dickinson), and the population of Dickinson in 1915.
4. (Optional) Post a photo of your group at the well enjoying the water!
Thanks for visiting! While you're here, be sure to pick up team geomonkey's traditional cache Dickinson Spring Cache (GC227JT). Lastly, I'd like to say a special thanks to DOC for her suggestions and advice in preparing this Earthcache! Happy Caching!