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Grand River Torrance Gypsum Mine

A cache by carnigrewal Send Message to Owner Message this owner
Hidden : 02/28/2016
2 out of 5
4.5 out of 5

Size: Size:   micro (micro)

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Geocache Description:

Welcome to the Grand River Torrance Gypsum Mine Wherigo. To complete this Wherigo, you do not have to enter the mine, and doing so, will be at your own risk. This wherigo was originally submitted as an Earthcache, and I have elected to leave information about the geology of the mine on the cache page. It truly is an amazing area to explore. A special thanks to Pasha88 for making the cartridge for me. Please click on the Related Web Page to download the cartridge.

The wherigo starts at the posted coords. There are two ways to get there, so please choose the one that is the safest for you. One method is via water and the other via land. You can canoe to this cache by putting in your water vessel in Paris, and paddling down the Grand. If you choose the land method, you will want to park at the waypoint provided and follow the trail to the rope (waypoint provided) and use this rope to slowly ascend towards GZ. Both ways are equally as tough, for different reasons. When the Grand River is higher than usual, this Wherigo may not be able to be completed. Also, in inclement weather (especially icy conditions), you will not want to attempt this wherigo. I would like to sincerely thank thebruce0 for helping me the nail down the location of the mine, cache4pat for providing me lots of history on it. Your efforts are appreciated guys!


Can you name a material that was used in the pyramids, is the main ingredient in toothpaste, is a colour additive for drugs and cosmetics, is used to create casts, and is used as a soil additive to improve the soil's workability? Give up? The answer is hydrous calcium sulphate, commonly known as Gypsum.

Gypsum is a common sedimentary rock. It is very soft, one of the predominant traits of this rock family. Due to its softness, it has little value as a building material. However, humans use this stone for everything from fertilizer to plastics because of its other useful properties.

One of the major characteristics of gypsum is its softness. On the Moh's hardness scale, gypsum only earns a 2 rating. In fact the word "gypsum" comes from the Greek word for "chalk." When it becomes dehydrated, its softness allows the mineral to easily crumble into a chalk-like substance. For this reason, gypsum often was used for sculptures as long ago as Ancient Egypt. In modern times, gypsum forms the basis of sculpting materials, like Plaster of Paris.

Gypsum mainly occurs as a crystal in nature. These crystals grow either in long fibers or large masses. Some of the fibers grow to great lengths, especially in arid conditions, creating crystalline shapes up to 39 feet long. Most gypsum is transparent, but a prized variety has a slightly white shade. This is alabaster, a stone used for artistic purposes. Alabaster occurs in many types of artwork from small ornamental boxes to great sculptures.

Gypsum primarily is made up of sulfur. This is due to the evaporative process that creates the mineral. By the start of the 19th century, farmers realized that adding sulfur to the soil helped plants to grow. Therefore, many used crumbled gypsum as a natural fertilizer. In fact, American farmers became so desperate to get this fertilizer that it led to a smuggling trade with Nova Scotia, which caused the War of 1812.

Modern fertilizers still use gypsum, and it is still an ingredient for many types of plaster. There are multiple gypsum mines all over the world due to the demand of this mineral by modern industry. While gypsum has a practical purpose, it is also quite lovely in its natural form. Many rock collectors preserve gypsum crystals simply for the beauty of the stone.

Geology & History Of Gypsum In The Area (Provided by the Grand River Heritage Mines Society)
From Rest Acres Road, the land slopes down to the east and south to the Grand River and Whiteman's Creek. During and after the Ice Age, several shoreline levels were formed as the waters receded and the water levels changed.

As a result terraces and steep slopes were formed which lead to the flat flood plains. The upper levels are composed of flat fields, well-drained because of the deep deposits of sand and gravel left by the glaciers and melting streams. During the retreat of the last glacier, the Wisconsin, extensive lowland areas were submerged in glacial lakes This is where the sand and clay plains of Brant County were formed.

The gypsum mines were located where the bedrock was exposed in the valleys of the rivers as shown in this diagram.

As the glaciers retreated, and the climate warmed, plants and animals appeared, moving up from the south. Gypsum was exploited in our area by the early settlers. There were several mines and mills located in the Paris area. At first early settlers used picks and shovels to dig it out of the banks along the Grand and Nith Rivers. There in the valley where the bedrock was exposed, pioneers who settled along the river found deposits of the whitish rock. They dug shallow canals beside the river, for water power, and built mills beside them to grind the grain they grew to make grist and flour, and land plaster. Other settlers opened their own mines or leased their mining rights to businessmen who had the land plaster hauled to the mills to be ground and sold to area fanners. Neighbouring settlers bought gypsum from them to use as a soil conditioner and fertilizer. They used gypsum to plaster their interior walls and to stucco their homes' exteriors. Other uses of gypsum were discovered later on.

The Torrance Mine

The Torrance mine is the only intact mine in the Paris area today, and it was first prospected in 1846. In the Bureau Of Mines Report of 1895 and 1896 it is written: On Lot 16 in the first Concession of the Township of Brantford, one mile east of Paris on the north side of the Grand River, a new opening for plaster was being made. The property, comprising 133 acres, is owned by Mr. John Torrance of Paris, and occupied by Mr. William Hynes as tenant, who is an old miner, who in company with James Wright, another miner, had driven a shaft from the brink of the river north 45 feet at the date of my visit, November 27th. Limited prospecting had been done at the place of opening some 50 years ago, but the work was abandoned and nothing further done until the present year. Along the drift, some excellent specimens of plaster were obtained, intermingled with slate; the extremity of the drift was in clay. It was the intention, I was told, to advance the work much farther in the same line, with the expectation of intercepting the regular layer of plaster."

Congratulations to thebruce0 on the FTF!

Additional Hints (Decrypt)

Pnpur: Hc

Decryption Key


(letter above equals below, and vice versa)