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The coordinates for this cache will bring you to a pull-off along the road where you will have a great view of an extraordinary rock formation.
You are looking at an awesome formation of sandstone in the shape of a beehive or a pagoda (at least that's what it looks like to me!). The local name for this rock formation is Church Rock. The name comes from the story that this rock was to be used as a church by a utopian community in the 1930s known as the "Home of the Truth".
The three-tiered, sandstone, columnar formation is an outlier of Entrada sandstone which makes up the Entrada Formation stratum. It is an erosional remnant, meaning that it is a bedrock formation that remains after extensive erosion.
Entrada Formation Sandstone
The reddish color of the Entrada sandstone comes mainly from the mineral hematite (an iron oxide and principal ore of iron) staining the sandstone. The Entrada sandstone is the same formation that makes up the natural arches of Arches National Park. Joint or fracture patterns in the Entrada sandstone create initial weak zones that become enlarged over time. Joint intersections are susceptible to weathering because of the increased surface area to volume ratio. These joints weather quickly, creating spherical-shaped rock formations such as Church Rock.
Weathering and Erosion
While many people believe that weathering and erosion are the same thing, they are actually different geomorphological processes. Weathering is the breakdown of rock into smaller pieces, and erosion is the movement of that weathered material.
There are three main types of weathering: physical, chemical, and biological. Physical weathering causes breakdown of rocks without chemical changes to the rocks. Chemical weathering causes breakdown of rocks by compositional changes to the rocks through chemical reactions. Biological weathering causes breakdown of rocks by the effects of organisms living on the rocks.
There are four main types of erosion: water, ice, wind, and gravity. Water erosion occurs by way of rain, rivers, waves, floods, tides, etc. Ice erosion occurs by way of glaciers. Wind erosion occurs by way of fast-moving air. Gravity erosion occurs by way of weathered particles of rock falling from their original positions.
The above descriptions have been distilled from these sources:
North American Montessori Center (2013). Weathering and Erosion. http://www.montessoritraining.net/elementary_program2/courses/physical_geography/sample_lessons.pdf
University of Utah (2010). Capitol Reef National Park and Surrounding Areas: Geological tour guide. http://sed.utah.edu/Entrada.htm
Weaver, Lance (2006). Utah Geology: HW-191 I-70 Junction to Montecello, Utah. http://www.utahgeology.com/roadguides.php?hw=hw191
Wikipedia (2013). Erosion. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erosion
Wikipedia (2013). Weathering. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Weathering
Earthcaches are placed in order to give people an educational experience. For this earthcache, you must complete the following in an e-mail to me (not to be included as part of your log).
1. What mineral gives Entrada sandstone its reddish color?
2. Given what you see at this site and what you have learned above, what type(s) of weathering do you think created this formation and why?
3. Given what you see at this site and what you have learned above, what type(s) of erosion do you think created this formation and why?
4. What do you estimate the height of Church Rock to be?
5. (Note: optional, but it sure helps to verify your smiley if your answers to the above are not 'quite right') Post (with your log) a picture of yourself and your GPSr (or just your GPSr) with Church Rock in the background.
Thanks for visiting this earthcache, and I hope that you now enjoy and understand this unique area even more!
Congratulations to Nakitaswarrior on their milestone 2,000th find!
(No hints available.)