Experience this EarthCache
Welcome to a unique earth cache that focuses on the important connections between geology and the environment with a focus on groundwater!
We have brought you to the Cincinnati Civic Gardens, a beautiful haven of sustainability in the heart of Cincinnati. The Gardens (including the Green Learning Station) are available 7 days a week dawn to dusk. The main center is open M-F 9-5 and Saturday 9-4. Our main goal with this cache is to continue the theme of introducing you to geology in everyday life and everyday places. Geology is a unique field - it's not just rocks! It incorporates so many types of science. This is why we've brought you here.
Welcome to the highest tech parking lot in the midwest! Here, we're going to talk about groundwater! Groundwater is the water that is underground and is captured by the sediment or rocks below us. Groundwater can be used as drinking water and for agricultural purposes. Groundwater also feeds streams, rivers and ponds. That means whatever chemicals or sediment or pollutants make their way into the groundwater will eventually make into a body of water, or someone's drinking water.
So how do we "recharge" (replenish) groundwater? Rain of course! Precipitation falls on the ground, and is soaked up by the soil or gravel. The water eventually filters through and makes its way to the sediment and rocks below. Unfortunately, though, many surfaces in big cities (like Cincinnati) are covered in asphalt. Does asphalt let water through? Nope! Where does the rainwater go then? It drains to the Ohio River (Cincinnati's drinking water source). This means that whatever petroleum products, road salt and other chemicals are on the asphalt ends up in the river and puts a strain on the water treatment plants. That's no good!
In the picture above, you can see that each section is a slightly different color. These are different stones used to funnel water into the gravel below.
Enter pervious pavement. The Green Learning Center is home to an environmental experiment of sorts. You might notice that the pavement around you is not just typical pavement, there are several different shaped stones. Each type stone has a different space in between each tile. In total there are five different types of pavement here that let water through to gravel below, where it can filter through.
Chemicals and contaminants stick to the gravel, which means the water is much cleaner once it makes its way to the groundwater. Instead of draining dirty water into the sewers and river, the water is "cleaned up" and goes back into the ground.
The Green Learning Station monitors storms and how much water soaks through the cracks. Sensors measure temperature and water flow. This experiment will be useful in figuring out what paving stones can be used in the city to help keep our water clean.
If you want to learn more about these stones, ask a nearby volunteer or visit their website at: http://www.civicgardencenter.org/green-learning-station/explore-the-gls/pervious-paving/
* Source research and text by LtStabos.
Once you log this Earthcache as "FOUND" please message us the answer to the following question within 1 hour.
- Read the signs around the Green Learning Station. What kind of station did they transform into the Green Learning Station you see here?
- Why might this type of pavement be useful for this land? Think about what this place used to be!
- Look at the different types of stones on the ground. Find the ones with the biggest spaces in between each stone. What color is the stone? What is the shape? How large is the space between stones?
For your GeoTrail Passport you will need to collect the following answer.
- Go look at the solar panels atop the Green Learning Station. Find the round purple sign amongst the solar panels. Complete this sentence: "The _______ is great up here"
To access the Earthcaching 101 GeoTour Digitial Passport: CLICK HERE.
EarthCaching 101 GeoTour Locations:
- ECGT A Walk Through Time (GC7P5RE)
- ECGT Rocks of Fountain Square (GC7P5RG)
- ECGT Ohio River Flood Gauge (GC7P5RJ)
- ECGT Very Old Logs (GC7P5RM)
- ECGT Mount Adams Landslide Hazard (GC7P5RN)
- ECGT Cincinnati River Valleys (GC7P5RQ)
- ECGT "Glacial Erratic" (GC7P5RT)
- ECGT Pervious Pavement (GC7P5RW)
- ECGT Forest Avenue Wetland (GC7P5RZ)
- ECGT Cincinnati Fossils and Stratigraphy (GC7P5T1)