Monday, July 28, 2014

Cheltenham Badlands

Sometimes geocaching makes an excellent tour guide.

A case in point:

In June, while we were driving home from the COG mega event, my wife and I decided to avoid the highways and cut across country to see what we could see.  About 30 minutes into our drive along Ontario we crested a hill and landed in the middle of a geology lesson.

On the side of the road was several acres of barren red rocks.  If you've never been to central Ontario, the landscape is basically rolling hills of green fields, green trees, or water. Barren rock like this is rare, so naturally we were intrigued.  However we had no idea what, exactly, we were looking at.  I didn't have data on my phone, so I couldn't search the internet for the answer.

I decided to see if there were any geocaches in the area that may provide some nuggets of information. As luck would have it, there was an earth cache at this very location, complete with all sorts of useful information about the badlands.  I shall relay some of that information to you, cause thats just the type of service we provide here at Only Googlebot Reads This Blog.

According to the earth cache description, this area used to be an inland sea back in ancient times, which covered the land in a very soft rock called shale.  When the land was cleared for cattle grazing back in 1900, the dirt eroded away exposing the shale. Once the shale was exposed it also eroded away, leaving the much harder sand stone, limestone, and dolomite bedrock exposed. The result is the badlands seen today.

What surprises me is how quickly it happened.  One normally thinks of geological events happening over thousands of years, but this all happened over a relatively short 100ish years.  Just goes to show that messing with mother nature can have unforeseen (tho sometimes awesome) consequences.

It was really great discovering that these badlands existed very near the place I grew up, all thanks to this quirky little hobby we call geocaching.  Gotta love it.

Have you had a similar experience where a geocache acted like a tour guide?  Tell me about it in the comments below.