A Drive through Iowa’s Prairie – Southbound
In Iowa, United States
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This is a “drive through” Earthcache along Interstate 380. Do not stop along the highway. All information needed may be gathered while driving.
This is a “drive through” Earthcache along Interstate 380 that will give you a glimpse of the geology of Iowa’s prairies. Do not stop along the highway. All information needed may be gathered while driving.
To complete this Earthcache, you will need a stopwatch (or some way to accurately time your journey) and your powers of observation. It would be best to have at least one other person with you to help collect the data needed during this drive.
In 2008, the Iowa Department of Transportation undertook a prairie restoration project along this section of Interstate 380. During the process, all of the plants that had grown in the outside right of way were removed and the area was reseeded with plants that made up the original Iowa Native Prairie. This process took most of the summer to complete and has required a couple of maintenance mowings to maintain. Since this time, the outside road banks have required little or no maintenance.
As you drive along this section of roadway, look at the gently rolling landscape (which is now farmland) and imagine this area as it was when it was completely covered in prairie that lines the outside of the roadway .
To get credit for this Earthcache, please collect the following information and email your answers to me:
1 – Beginning at mile marker 64 (the listed coordinates of this cache, traveling south, just after you pass through the intersection of I-380 and Highway 20), start you timer as you pass this mile marker. You will need to time your journey from here until you pass mile marker 50 (Waypoint "Mile Marker 50" in the cache listing) at the Brandon interchange and email your result to me.
2 – During your journey, you will pass over a number of natural obstacles to transportation that are now virtually unnoticeable while on the highway. Two of these features are located at waypoints "Obstacle #1" and "Obstacle #2". Describe these obstacles and how they have influenced the geology of the prairie in your email.
3 – Toward the end of your journey, you will pass waypoint "Feature" that was exposed when the road was constructed. In your email, describe this feature and how it shapes the prairie.
4 – When you reach mile marker 50 (Waypoint "Mile Marker 50" in the cache listing, just before you pass over the bridge at the Brandon interchange), record the time it took you to travel these 14 miles.
Referencing this website - http://www.terryburns.net/How_fast_could_they_travel.htm
and taking into consideration the obstacles and other geologic features of the prairie you noticed on your journey, estimate how long it would have taken a family traveling by horse drawn wagon to complete this same journey. (before any roadways were constructed, of course).
Again, do not stop along the side of the interstate to gather information for this Earthcache. If you wish to observe the geology of the area more closely, pull off safely at one of the intersections and make your observations there, but remember to account for this in your timing.
Here and here are links to two sites that will help you determine the time needed.
Congratulations to SEAM Smiley on the First to Find!
(No hints available.)
Last Updated: on 8/20/2017 1:10:55 PM Pacific Daylight Time (8:10 PM GMT)
Coordinates are in the WGS84 datum