From U.S. Highway 18, North on Ironwood Road to Park Direction Sign
Turn Right (East) towards Picnic Area onto 250th Street
Turn Left (North) into the Park Entrance
Follow Road to Parking / Picnic / Shelter House Area
Please observe Park Hours and Seasons
Permission for the placement of this cache obtained from:
Dawn L. Amundson, Environmental Education Coordinator
Fayette County Conservation Board (FCCB)
Discovering at Dutton’s
This is an Earth Cache which means there will not be a logbook to sign at the specified coordinates.
To receive credit for this Earth Cache you perform some activities and e-mail the answers.
Logs which do not meet the logging requirements
(listed at the end of the description) will be deleted.
Approaching Ground Zero
Park at the Parking Waypoint.
Cross either bridge and follow the path towards Ground Zero.
Please stay on the path!
Ground Zero will take you to a locked gate before a bridge.
Proceed no further!
The FCCB opened the park for visitors but do not allow entrance to the cave for the reasons below.
YOU WILL NOT BE ENTERING THE CAVE!
There is a disease called White Nose Syndrome (WNS) which adversely affects bats.
Do YOUR part by staying on the path and STOPPING at the locked gate.
You will be able to complete the Earth Cache without venturing past Ground Zero.
Why an Earth Cache Here?
To allow you to discover and witness the elements of the cave formation process firsthand!
The Local Geology - The Paleozoic Plateau
This area is part of the Paleozoic Plateau with its characteristic valleys and cliffs with bedrock exposures. The topography here can be quite dramatic compared to the gentle slopes, rolling landscapes and plains for the remainder of the state.
This site highlights the karst topography where underground streams, sinkholes, and limestone are readily present. These elements are conducive to forming caves.
The limestone around the cave is from the Silurian Waucoma Formation Limestone. Limestone is a sedimentary rock. Limestone was created as lime deposits settled on a shallow seafloor forming layers. These layers should be readily visible along the exposed cliffs.
Dutton’s Cave was discovered in 1848 by Lorenzo Dutton. Over the years, flooding has silted in part of the cave. However, the key cave formation elements are readily apparent from outside the cave entrance itself.
Limestone Cave Formation
Limestone caves are also called solutional caves. Water, rainwater or underground streams, seep through the limestone. The water interacts with carbon dioxide in the limestone to form a weak acid. This acid, called carbonic acid, dissolves the limestone to form caves. The cave formation process is a slow one and takes many, many years.
Erosion and the freezing and thawing of water also can assist with breaking off some of the layers of limestone. Large blocks of limestone sometimes may fall away and are along the floor of the valley / ravine. These fallen stones are called talus.
Congratulations to looking4gems for the First to Find / Log this Earth Cache!
You will be observing and identifying the elements of cave formation.
E-mail the answers for the following:
(Please do not post answers in your log)
1. Left of the cave entrance is exposed limestone.
Describe the color of the limestone and its estimated height.
2. At ground zero, from what direction does the nearby underground stream / spring flow?
3. From ground zero, where is the talus located?
4. Where can you see the remnants of a waterfall?
5. How many steps are on the covered slide near the shelter house?