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Broke down in the Badlands EarthCache

Hidden : 08/02/2018
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Size: Size:   other (other)

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Geocache Description:

Cliff Shelf - Badlands National Park, South Dakota

South Dakota's Badlands offer an amazing array of geological formations, all constantly changing due to the effects of erosion. Thousands of years ago a massive block of stone broke loose from the cliff above due to water working down through the softer surrounding rock. It fell with such force that it compacted the area, altering the underlying layers to less porous materials, thus slowing drainage.

Geologists call these naturally occurring events "slumps". Cliff Shelf continues to slump, although in less dramatic stages, still to this day. Slump areas can be seen throughout the park where high, year-round patches of green vegetation grow on the dense slump material that has fallen down the cliff face over the eons. This slump material appears as loose debris piled up against the base of the cliff - it retains moisture allowing vegetation to thrive, providing contrast against the stark cliff faces of the White River Badlands.

To log this EarthCache, complete the following and send your results to the cache owner listed at the top of this page --- click on their name, then either the "Send email" or "Send message" links.

1. Look at Cliff Shelf as you walk the trail towards the posted coordinates --- how high would you estimate the cliff face to be at its highest point?

This will take you on a short hike along the Cliff Shelf Nature Trail. It has a number of stairs to climb but is well worth the effort (imo). After you reach the upper deck you can continue down the natural trail as it loops back to the beginning. If you are physically unable to make this trek you can also complete this by going to N 43° 45.049 W 101° 55.796 (the end of the boardwalk) and make your observations from there - the trail is rated 1 for terrain up to that point.

Thank you to the staff and Rangers at Badlands National Park for their cooperation in developing this EarthCache.

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