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"Earth Science" vs "Geology"

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We recently worked up and submitted an Earthcache related to the Yellowstone Park fire in 1988. We visited Yellowstone in 1989 and could not believe the devastation. This year we returned to the park and could not believe the rebirth of all of the lodge pole pine forests. The park is beautiful again. This experience prompted some research. We worked up a good angle on the fire and the rebirth, selected a location, got permission from the park, and submitted our Earthcache.

 

This is a portion of the reply we received: "Though the fire is important in the ecology of the area, I do not believe that it is geologically related.”

 

Are Earthcaches about "Earth Science" or about Geology?

 

If Geology is the answer then the requirements page needs to be changed to reflect that fact!

 

Earth Science covers a broad spectrum of scientific disciplines including geology, but is certainly not limited to geology.

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The guidelines at earthcache.org state: "EarthCache sites must provide Earth science lessons. They take people to sites that can help explain the formation of landscapes or to sites of interesting phenomena such as folds, faults, intrusions or reveal how scientists understand our Earth (such as fossil sites etc.)." The Groundspeak guidelines define an earthcache as "involving a visit to the location of a unique and specific geoscience feature."

 

With this in mind, the earthcaching teacher's guide explains, "Individuals or groups can visit EarthCache™ locations around the world, either in the field or online, to learn something new about Earth and its systems. EarthCache™ sites are generally located where there is an interesting geologic or geographic phenomenon or feature. Because many different people create EarthCache™ sites, the topics or themes of the caches vary greatly. Consequently, the sites can provide information on a wide range of landforms, vegetation, and rock strata to climate, soil types, population distribution, or human impacts on the landscape. The possibilities are limitless, provided they offer some nugget of information about a particular place and the land that lies beneath it."

 

As I understand this, then, an earthcache must start with geology but can include a wide variety of information about how the geology of an area has shaped our understanding and experience. However, a cache about fire and the rebirth of an area would seemingly have a biology/ecology focus that, as Geoaware has stated, goes beyond the definitions used for earthcaching. But this is not the first time that the question has come up, so perhaps the guidelines should further define "earth science" to clarify the policy.

 

Jeremy has stated that Groundspeak is planning to reintroduce some form of virtuals, so perhaps other types of educational caches will eventually be permitted as part of geocaching.

Edited by mulvaney

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The guidelines at earthcache.org state: "EarthCache sites must provide Earth science lessons. They take people to sites that can help explain the formation of landscapes or to sites of interesting phenomena such as folds, faults, intrusions or reveal how scientists understand our Earth (such as fossil sites etc.)."

And of course, Earthcaches were created by the Geological Society of America, so the geology focus isn't unexpected.

 

Jeremy has stated that Groundspeak is planning to reintroduce some form of virtuals, so perhaps other types of educational caches will eventually be permitted as part of geocaching.

Yep, I think that decision holds great promise for a wider variety of science-oriented virtual geocaches.

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The guidelines at earthcache.org state: "EarthCache sites must provide Earth science lessons.

-snip-

That is exactly my point. The guidelines say Earth Science Lessons, not Geology lessons. I'm just saying that the rules page needs to be fixed to reflect the true nature of the limitations.

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The guidelines at earthcache.org state: "EarthCache sites must provide Earth science lessons.

-snip-

That is exactly my point. The guidelines say Earth Science Lessons, not Geology lessons. I'm just saying that the rules page needs to be fixed to reflect the true nature of the limitations.

 

Is not only about geology, it's also about geomorphology, hydro-geology, palaeontology etc.

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"Earth Science" is a broad term that is defined differently by different entities. The Earthcache website is pretty comprehensive and clear about what constitutes "Earth Science" for their purposes. Your error could have been avoided had you consulted the site before going ahead with your submission - Earthcache.org should always be your first source when you begin to develop an Earthcache.

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