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How Flaming Hot and Irresistibly Bad Are You? EarthCache

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Geocache Description:

🔥Welcome to Huoyan Mountain/火炎山🔥

also known as

🔥Flame Mountain🔥


In this Earth Cache, there is no physical container to be found. Instead you will try and be "flaming hot" by learning about a particular Earth Science — Weathering, Erosion,and Deposition — and how these phenomena played a key role in shaping this geologically unique area here in Taiwan. Upon getting your flaming hot on and learning about these things, you will make observations and answer questions relating to the things you learned in the Description and the observations you made on site (Posted Coordinates and Waypoints). Also there will be a "mysterious" or "bonus" section introduced too that will also require you to put on a different persona — "irresistibly bad" — and make conclusions based on your observations. But After you complete the tasks and answer the questions (which can be found at the bottom of this page), you can log a "Found It!" on this Earth Cache. I hope you enjoy! Let's begin the fun!



歡迎來到火炎山 這個地質寶沒有實際的寶盒,你將會「火熱」地學習一些地球科學-風化、侵蝕和沈積,探索這些現象形塑火炎山的重要角色,瞭解台灣這個區域在地質上為何如此特別。火熱學習的過程中,你會在地質寶點與參照點進行探索、觀察,回答一些跟地質寶頁面中跟這些地質現象內容有關的問題,此外,頁面中還有介紹一個額外的特別內容,你得要展現你潛在「不可抗拒的惡」人格展現出來,仔細觀察來回答一些問題。當你完成任務和回答完問題(頁面最下方)後,你可以線上登錄地質寶。希望你喜歡,來玩吧!



🔥 Introduction to Flame Mountain:🔥


Huoyan Mountain is an anomaly of Mother Nature. But then again, when it comes to Mother Nature, sometimes Her works of art can be so grandiose, so mesmerizing, and at the same time, so perplexing that we sometimes just wonder why? Like why is this here? Or how did Mother Nature make this? So it is with Huoyan Mountain — a "lonely" mountain sitting in the vast open lands of southern Miaoli, and upon approaching it, or rather passing it by, from National Freeway Number 1, you wonder why there seems to be this isolated mountain here in the middle of nowhere when all the other mountains in the area are far off in the distance tightly packed together. What "bad" thing did Huoyan Mountain do to be exiled or separated to the plains of far West Taiwan, when the majority of other mountains are grouped together right down the middle of the island?


Huoyan Mountain is indeed a geological anomaly of sorts and we will delve into its rich history and see what is so geologically unique about this work of Mother Nature.


So it has been proposed that this mountain is indeed "bad" (and we will get into what is exactly meant by "bad" a little later on). But first, appearance wise, it is easy to be drawn to the reddish-brown façade that is one-of-a-kind to other mountains in Taiwan. I mean, from our everyday experiences of seeing mountains or visiting mountains in general, especially in Taiwan, most seem to be the "regular" colored rock formations. And by "regular" I mean the "usual" darker color grey rocks that are so abundant everywhere on any particular mountain. However, Huoyan Mountain is void of such a "regular" appearance. Like mentioned earlier, it is instead reddish-brown in color, and depending on what time of the day one visits, the magical colors will be like a kaleidoscope of hues, giving you an intoxication of different shades of tones to your very eyes. This brings us to the uniqueness of this mountain and its "negative" label of being "a bad land", but how "bad" is it exactly? Well, to understand how "bad" it is, let us first focus on the forces that made this mountain what it is and what magical things make up its composition. Then afterwards we shall go into understanding what makes up a "badland" as Huoyan Mountain has been characterized as such.

介紹火炎山 火炎山是大地之母獨特的作品,再一次地,大地之母創造出如此壯麗、迷人的景色,讓人不禁想困惑到底為什麼?為什麼是這裡?或大地之母如何創造這一切?這就是火炎山,一座「孤單」的山頭座落在苗栗南方寬廣的土地上,從國道一號高速公路接近這座山或是錯過她時,你會否想知道為什麼會有一座遠離其他山頭的山從平地中升起?當台灣的主要山脈都聚集在島中央時,火炎山到底有多壞而讓她被隔離出來呢? 火炎山確實是地質學的異類,我們將鑽研她豐富的歷史,來瞭解大地之母獨特的傑作。 這座山確實很壞(之後會在介紹壞/惡的確切意義),不過,首先以貌取人來看她的紅棕色顏面,不是那種台灣那一類的山,我的意思是我們一般經驗中的山,尤其是台灣的山,多半有「正常」的岩石顏色,我所謂的「正常」是「一般」深色的灰色岩石,山上很尋常可見的那種岩石,不過,火炎山沒有這種「正常」的外觀,之前提到她的顏面是紅棕色的,在不同的時間還會有像是萬花筒一般的色澤迷惑你眼內每道光影,這是屬於這座山獨特的地方,也是她「萬惡之地」的「負面」標籤,但到底有多「惡」?為了瞭解有多「惡」,讓我們先來關注形成這座山的力量、沈積物中有哪些奇妙的東西,接著回頭來理解火炎山之「惡」。


🔥 Geological Uniqueness of Flame Mountain 🔥


From various geological research, it has been concluded that Huoyan Mountain was formed about one million years ago when an occurrence known as orogeny took place. Basically orogeny is a geological term referring to the how a mountain is formed. Simply put, mountains form when two tectonic plates come together and push up the land. When Huoyan Mountain was formed, a sudden occurrence of orogeny caused the nearby Da'an River to be pushed up quickly, causing rocks and other minerals from within the river to come up as well, thus forming the mountain known as Huoyan Mountain. And through many such occurrences of orogeny at that time as well as the constant forces of Mother Nature weathering its face, eroding its composition, and depositing new things, Huoyan Mountain is an ever ever changing mountain not only geologically but also topologically. One last thing to note is the main rock composition of Huoyan Mountain is of gravel mixed sand soil. Because these rocks contain a high iron content, a reddish-brown color will appear after weathering, thus giving the appearance of a "flame color" and ultimately giving reason to why Huoyan Mountain has been named as such in Chinese and translated as "Flame Mountain" in English.


In addition to Huoyan Mountain displaying a uniqueness in regards to his overall shape and color, it has also been classified as being a badland, which is extremely rare in Taiwan, since Taiwan is home to lush vegetation and an abundance of a arable land. (There will be more information on badlands below.)


In this Earth Cache, you will be brought to a geologically unique mountain here in Miaoli, Taiwan, where you will observe the aftermath of the forces of Mother Nature that shaped this land a million years ago. You will also observe the continuous "destructive forces" of Mother Nature upon this mountain and come to conclusions to one, what forces Mother Nature played in shaping this mountain, and two why this mountain should or should not be considered a badland.

火炎山地質特色 根據地質調查,火炎山在大約一百萬年前造山運動後形成,造山運動(orogeny)是地質名詞指稱山脈如何形成,簡單地說,兩個板塊靠近、擠壓土地後形成山脈,火炎山形成的時候,大漢溪附近一個突然快速出現的造山運動,讓河流底層的岩石與其他礦物一起抬升,最後形成火炎山的山頭。除了多次的造山運動,大地之母持續風化山頭表層、侵蝕沈積物、也沈積新的物質,火炎山不僅在地質上不斷地改變,地貌、內部空間、物質也不斷地變化。再來是火炎山的沈積物類型,主要是碎石混合沙土,因為這些岩石含有大量鐵質,風化後才出現紅褐色,讓他有了「火焰顏色」般外觀,也是英文名稱中火炎山(Flame Mountain)的原因。此外,火炎山的獨特之處不僅是整體形狀與顏色,他還被歸類為惡地,這是在台灣非常少見的地質,因為台灣的土地多半有茂密的植被,還富有可耕種的沃土。(下方會有更多關於惡地的知識)這個地質寶,你會來到苗栗縣獨特的山脈,觀察百萬年來大地之母刻畫土地的結果,還可觀察到大地之母不斷破壞解構的力量。最後,回答一個跟山脈塑形相關的問題,大地之母在塑形山脈的時候扮演什麼角色,回答兩個跟惡地相關的問題,是否該考量這座山為惡地。

Now that we have understood the brief yet unique geological history of Huoyan Mountain and its unique geological composition, now it is time to understand how Mother Nature works when creating Her geological works of art.



Understanding How Mother Nature Shapes The Land


Mother Nature we all know is a very powerful force, especially when it comes to wind and rain and how these two forces can shape and reshape an area, as it did with Huoyan Mountain.

When it comes to reshaping the land, there are three kind of processes that can cause such a change:

First, weathering occurs. Basically, any outside force "destroys" the land. Like in the diagram above, water, wind or even other plants or animals may cause some type of change in the shape of the land or it to look "damaged."

Next, after weathering occurs, then erosion starts to take place. This means that those "damanged" pieces of the land are moved to a new location.

Last, after weathering and erosion have taken place, deposition will occur. This means that those transported "damaged" pieces of land find a "new home." How did they find that new home? Wind or water moved them and “dropped" them there.

So this cycle repeats itself over and over again over millions and millions of years to form the things we see everyday around us in Mother Nature like mountains.

瞭解大地之母如何塑形土地 大家都知道大地之母有多麼強大的力量,特別是跟風、雨有關的力量,這兩種力量可塑形或是重新塑形一個區域的地形、地貌,火炎山這個地方也受到這些力量的作用。 關於重新塑形土地,共有三種造成改變的歷程作用:


Now that we have gone over in the forces of Mother Nature in shaping Huoyan Mountain, we will end with understanding badlands and why Huoyan Mountain has been characterized as such.




Huoyan Mountain — The Baddest Badland of All


As stated at the beginning of this Earth Cache description, Huoyan Mountain has been characterized as being a badland. But what is a badland and why is this anomaly of a landform in a country that is known for lush greenery and arable lands?

Badlands are a type of dry terrain where softer sedimentary rocks and clay-rich soils have been extensively eroded by wind and water. They are characterized by steep slopes, minimal vegetation, lack of a substantial regolith, and high drainage density. Before we move on, it is important to understand a little more about what exactly regolith is. In simple terms regolith is everything between fresh rock and fresh air. It includes:

  • weathered rock
  • eruptive volcanic materials
  • sediments
  • gasses
  • water
  • and much, much more

So regolith is a treasure trove of fun for the biodiverse and ecological world. Or in other words, it is a vital part for plants and crops. Without it, of course, nothing grows or rather grows in sparse quantities. So, a badland is void of regolith. Also badlands are difficult to navigate on foot as their terrain is not only rugged but also because of lacking vegetation and such, there is no shade, so if you're hiking in one of these places you may be in for one challenging ordeal. One last thing to note about badlands are the geological features commonly found within:

  • canyons/ravines — areas between two mountains with usually a river running through
  • buttes/mesas — isolated hills with steep sides and a flat top
  • hoodoos — tall, thin spires of rock.


這個地質寶最一開始有提過火炎山的惡地特徵,不過到底什麼是惡地?和為什麼這種地景如此異常而不是鬱鬱蔥蔥的綠地和耕地呢? 惡地指鬆軟沉積岩和富含黏土的土壤大範圍的被風和水侵蝕的後的乾燥地勢,這種地勢的特徵是陡坡、極稀疏植被、缺少實質性的風化層表土(regolith),以及高密度的引流。更深入瞭解惡地之前,得先來瞭解一下風化層到底是什麼,簡單來說,風化層(regolith)是指所有岩石跟空氣間的東西,包含:











Logging Requirements:


Flame Mountain is definitely a one-of-a-kind geological wonder here in Taiwan, and at the Posted Coordinates as well as the two Referenced Waypoints (WP 01 & WP 02) you will see the unique landforms that were shaped by the forces of Mother Nature and get a glimpse into this mountain's rich geological history and if you observe carefully, you may even see into its future at the same time. So let's get ready to do some tasks related to Earth Science here at Flame Mountain!


In order to log a Found It! for this Earth Cache, please go to the posted coordinates and the two Referenced Waypoint (WP 01 & WP 02) to complete the following tasks:


1. Based on what you have learned about weathering, erosion and deposition, describe each of these phenomena you observed at the two Waypoints and the Posted Coordinates. Why do you feel that one area has a greater concentration of a particular phenomena over the other? 

2. Based on what you have learned about badlands, would you classify this place as being one? Why or why not? 

3. Optional — Post a photo of yourself or an item identifying yourself here at "Flame Mountain".


1. 根據您對風化、侵蝕和沈積的了解,描述您在兩個航點和發布的坐標中觀察到的每一種現象。 為什麼你覺得一個區域比另一個區域更集中特定現象?

2. 根據您對荒地的了解,您會將這個地方歸類為“荒地”嗎? 為什麼或者為什麼不?

3.  可選——在“火焰山”張貼自己的照片或表明自己身份的物品。


You may log a Found It! on this cache after you have completed the tasks and emailed me the answers. If there are any issues with your answers, I will contact you. Thank you for visiting this Earth Cache. I hope you enjoy your time on Flame Mountain!




Additional Hints (No hints available.)