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Gordon Falls - Mattawamkeag River EarthCache

Hidden : 07/05/2012
Difficulty:
2 out of 5
Terrain:
3 out of 5

Size: Size:   not chosen (not chosen)

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Geocache Description:

This is an Earthcache! There is NO PHYSICAL CONTAINER. To log it, you must perform a few tasks and email me your answers!  In addition, you may want to post some photos but it is not required. 

As a bonus, there are several regular Geocaching caches on the way in and nearby – GC1VZR6 – Recline Under A Pine, GC13720 – Riverview Cache, GC1VZRH – Slewgundy Heaters One, and GC1VZT5 – Slewgundy Heaters Two.

Congratulations to solid-rock-seekers for their FTF!



Please note – the road into this site will become a dirt road.  You will be traveling at least 4+ miles on a dirt road (remember the GPSr gives you direct distance – not the road distance) with its associated risk of pot holes, water, mud, rocks, crude bridges and debris which has fallen off vehicles.  The road is maintained and passable by campers, however, flat tires do occur.  Cell service may not be available depending on your provider.  Travel accordingly and prepared for these conditions.  Also this is a multi use road with ATVs!  It is also a snowmobile trail in winter.
 
Go to the Town of Mattawamkeag via Route 2 and look for the sign leading to the Mattawamkeag Wilderness Park.  Turn onto that road and check your odometer.  Follow your GPS toward the coordinates (and the signs to Mattawamkeag Wilderness Park and Campground) and at 3.4 miles from Route 2 watch for and cautiously cross the bridge over Mattakeunk Stream.  Continue to Lower Gordon Falls and the coordinates at about 4.9 miles.  There is pull off parking near the coordinates - get well off the road.  There is a sign but it is very old and falling down - not sure how long it will be there.
 
You will be walking on a rough trail and on uneven ground near a river with fast water and rapids.   Use caution and be very careful with children! This may not be appropriate for young children or toddlers.  DO NOT attempt to swim in this area of the river!

Remember - This is an Earthcache! There is NO PHYSICAL CONTAINER. To log it, you must perform the tasks and email me your answers!

Your first task at this Earthcache location is to observe the rock formations of the falls.  Please describe to me what the bottom looks like (your answers may differ depending on the water level of the river) and how it differs from the top.  Are the rocks different or the same, harder or softer, etc?  Next, estimate the height of the falls.  This may be difficult in high water but give it a try.  Did you see any glacial erratics in the area?  Where did these come from and from what direction?  And your last task will be to tell me if you saw any red in the rock and if so, what caused it?  Again, this may be dependant upon the water level.  Once complete you need to send me your answers to all the questions. Also, I would like to know how many were in your party when you visited the cache.

Information about this area is from the Maine Geological Survey – Explore Bedrock Geology Sites. It is for educational use only. A link to the web page with additional information is on this cache page.
 
The Mattawamkeag River is the longest river in Maine with effectively no regulation of flow by dams.  There is a U.S. Geological Survey stream gauge just below the falls you are visiting.  The Mattawamkeag River is a Class AA river by Statue from the Kingman-Mattawamkeag boundary to its confluence with the Penobscot River and rated Class II – IV for canoeists and kayakers.  The most difficult stretch is through Slewgundy Heater.  For more information about this section, go to the American Whitewater Mattawamkeag webpage.
 
The Mattawamkeag drainage basin is underlain primarily by Ordovician and Silurian metamorphosed sedimentary rocks of the Kearsarge-Central Maine synclinorium.  The Bedrock Geological Map of Maine done in 1985 (Osberg and others) describes the rocks at the falls as “Silurian undifferentiated pelites and sandstones”, but subsequent work suggests a correlation with the Silurian Smyrna Mills Formation to the North (Hopeck, 1991; Ludman and others, 1993). 
 
The bulk of the exposed bedrock at Gordon Falls are green to gray pelites with a pronounced slaty cleavage.  At low water, however, benches of bedrock reveal reddish beds much richer in iron and manganese than the bulk of the formation.
 
The rocks are strongly foliated in a N35E direction with near vertical dips.  This foliation is sub-parallel to the primary bedding in the rock.  At the falls location you are viewing, the river is parallel to the foliation and bedding.
 
The orientation of the follication parallel to the river is very favorable to the formation of potholes in the bedrock, caused by erosion produced by sediment trapped in eddies abrading the bedrock.  Potholes are common at low water here but absent at the falls above.
 
As you are observing the falls, look at the many loose boulders of varying sizes.  You will notice there are very few of local bedrock – it is far to foliated and weak to take much transport and the associated grinding of glacial ice.  The vast majority of boulders are Katahdin granite.  The Katahdin batholith, the source for most of the boulders is about 30 miles Northwest of the falls.
 
I hope you have enjoyed this earth cache and learning a about this area and the falls.  Don't forget to get a full experience visit - You are encouraged to also visit Upper Gordon Falls which is 0.1 miles further up the road – the coords are on this cache page.  PLUS Don't Miss the regular caches at "The Heaters"!

References Cited
Hopeck, John T., 1991, Faulting and related fabrics in the Miramichi and Aroostook - Matapedia tracts, Maine, in Ludman, Allan (editor), Geology of the coastal lithotectonic block and neighboring terranes, eastern Maine and southern New Brunswick: New England Intercollegiate Geological Conference, 83rd Annual Meeting, September 27-29, 1991, Princeton, Maine, p. 294-308.
Ludman, Allan, Hopeck, John T., and Brock, Pamela Chase, 1993, Nature of the Acadian orogeny in eastern Maine, in Roy, David C., and Skehan, James W. (editors), The Acadian orogeny; recent studies in New England, Maritime Canada, and the autochthonous foreland: Geological Society of America, Special Paper 275, p. 67-84.
Osberg, Phillip H., Hussey, Arthur M., II and Boone, Gary (editors), 1985, Bedrock geologic map of Maine: Maine Geological Survey (Department of Conservation), scale 1:500,000.
Pavlides, Louis, 1962, Geology and manganese deposits of the Maple and Hovey Mountains area, Aroostook County, Maine: U. S. Geological Survey, Professional Paper 362, 116 p.

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