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TillaMurphs

Any idea what these mystery nails are?

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We found iron nails firmly stuck in the ground within 40 feet of a GLO cap (MV0327) in the Nevada desert playa.

 

We are very curious as to why these are here???

 

These were not located in any obviously distinguishable pattern and we found 4 or more. They were mostly on one side of the station (they might have been on the other side as well but we did not cross the fence to look).

 

We wonder if these might have been pounded flush with the ground at one time and then maybe the ground receded. In 1950 the mark was 1 inch above ground and now it is 6 inches above ground – maybe the nails are a similar case?

 

The nails are fairly large and have an uncommon taper (then again, maybe the taper is from corrosion.). Picture below.

 

They might not have anything at all to do with the station but there is nothing much else out here.

 

Who knows? Maybe a rancher was out here repairing the fence corner and his tagalong kid was pounding extra nails in the ground to alleviate boredom? :)

 

 

All speculation is appreciated. Heck, if you don’t have any ideas just make something up. I will take whatever I can get. Aliens, Bigfoot, etc.

 

Thanks.

 

 

Close Up:

ac2665b9-3036-4ddf-a3df-71950214f826.jpg

 

One is visible in foreground in the circle:

41bd308f-9443-4fb9-a5c1-974a56c8ddff.jpg

 

Size:

a9560e56-73bf-4a12-a66d-07fac05bde01.jpg

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Surveyors make at least three uses of large nails, but I see no evidence for those uses in your pictures.

 

One is for traverse points, arbitrarily chosen points from which it is convenient to set up an instrument and make measurements. A single nail near a corner that is obstructed, probably with colored flagging, would suggest this use. I don't see why there would be multiple nails nor a lack of flagging.

 

Occasionally, they might set nails as reference points in case the main station is endangered, as control points on a construction site might be. I don't see that here.

 

The other use is to hold down aerial photo targets, but they would tend to be in a pattern a few feet across, and would either get ripped out if the target was pulled up or else the decayed remains of the target would still be there.

 

So I'm stumped.

Edited by Bill93

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I think those nails may be Public Land Survey System witness marks, as the station itself seems to be a PLSS Section Corner. (Thus the station designation.) They are used to re-establish the section corner location if the marker is damaged/moved/missing. I don't know if there is any online database for Nevada that has info on PLSS section corners, but Michigan created a re-monumentation project that has an online database so here is an example of the kind of data it contains:

http://www.dleg.state.mi.us/remon/dt_image.asp?remon_index=02N08EC1319961226&directory=02N08E

 

You can see the PLSS grid on an interactive map here:

http://www.geocommunicator.gov/blmMap/MapLSIS.jsp

 

Thanks to the Michigan re-monumentation project I have actually searched for and found a quarter section corner on family owned land and made a thread about it here:

http://forums.Groundspeak.com/GC/index.php?showtopic=296569&st=0&p=5052876&fromsearch=1entry5052876

I have yet to find any other PLSS marks due to the fact that most of them are in the center of roads. Though I do know of one I may be able to find when the weather starts getting warmer.

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They probably are just temporary work points that ceased to have any revelance once the corner position was established. I bet the mark that is there now is not the same on from 1950 and that would explain why its 6-inche above ground. Is the date on the cap 1950?

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---- Is the date on the cap 1950?

 

This UNK MONUMENTED USGLO happens to be stamped '1940'. MEL

 

Edit: Forgot to ask TillaMurphs if they found any hot water in that area. kayakbird

Edited by kayakbird

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---- Is the date on the cap 1950?

 

This UNK MONUMENTED USGLO happens to be stamped '1940'. MEL

 

Edit: Forgot to ask TillaMurphs if they found any hot water in that area. kayakbird

 

Yep - like kayakbird mentioned the date on the cap is 1940 (below).

 

Kayakbird, we did not run across any hot water there.

 

85322aa8-a977-4165-9fe7-0f5fe342a310.jpg

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TillaMurphs,

 

I finally took a look at all your photos and I think that I see a one time, short term, vertical (back-sight) stick and some light wire that guyed it to those nails.

MYSTERY NAILS

fb436dde-c5a2-4c00-b4d2-6dbe122600e3.jpg

 

7e2e7fb9-2831-4018-a8aa-a217b9c431ab.jpg

 

The grease-wood and fence may not have been there at the time.

 

I wandered through the southeast corner of Oregon several years ago and enjoyed soaks in several primitive hot springs. MEL

Edited by kayakbird

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The only further information on this that I've found are the field notes from the 1940 resurvey of the 9th standard parallel during which that monument was placed. Those notes do indicate that one of the pieces of wood near the marker could have been the original ceder post that was used to mark that particular section corner. The survey notes don't mention any witness marks, and the original 1874 survey fieldnotes are handwritten and I'm not sure I could read them well enough to find the mention of that particular corner, much less any original witness marks. (I think I like Michigan's database a lot better now that I've seen Nevada's equivalent.)

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Probably some survey party's results of where they thought the mark should be based on their readings.

 

I have seen multiple 'shiners' placed around marks with adjusted co-ordinates, and have always assumed that was why they were there.

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I think shiners (typically metal disks stamped with a name or number and nailed to a tree or post) are used almost exclusively for reference points, not alternate opinions on where a point should be.

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I finally took a look at all your photos and I think that I see a one time, short term, vertical (back-sight) stick and some light wire that guyed it to those nails.

Hmmmm. That is an interesting idea. I never thought much about the “sticks” that were there. The longer one would not seem to be part of the fencing; a surveying use seems likely as there isn’t anything else out here. However, if I was going to use the nails as guy wire supports I would have put them in at an angle and these were perfectly vertical.

 

 

The only further information on this that I've found are the field notes from the 1940 resurvey of the 9th standard parallel during which that monument was placed. Those notes do indicate that one of the pieces of wood near the marker could have been the original ceder post that was used to mark that particular section corner. The survey notes don't mention any witness marks, and the original 1874 survey fieldnotes are handwritten and I'm not sure I could read them well enough to find the mention of that particular corner, much less any original witness marks. (I think I like Michigan's database a lot better now that I've seen Nevada's equivalent.)

Thanks for looking into that EdrickV. Where did you find those notes?

 

 

kunarion, The nails did not have cupped heads. Other than the taper, they looked like they came straight from the hardware store. Thanks for the links.

 

 

Bill93, Z15 and Azcachemeister

– as always, thank you for your input.

 

In hindsight, I wish we had paid more attention to the exact placement of the nails. However, we were on a Benchmarking vacation trip and we had many more marks we wanted to look for that day. As it was, by the time the trip was over we had only made it to about half of the marks we wanted to explore.

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The only further information on this that I've found are the field notes from the 1940 resurvey of the 9th standard parallel during which that monument was placed. Those notes do indicate that one of the pieces of wood near the marker could have been the original ceder post that was used to mark that particular section corner. The survey notes don't mention any witness marks, and the original 1874 survey fieldnotes are handwritten and I'm not sure I could read them well enough to find the mention of that particular corner, much less any original witness marks. (I think I like Michigan's database a lot better now that I've seen Nevada's equivalent.)

Thanks for looking into that EdrickV. Where did you find those notes?

 

I got the info from here:

http://www.nv.blm.gov/LandRecords/

 

Use Township 46 North, Range 28 East, (starting and ending) Mt. Diablo meridian, either All or Rectangular Survey Field Notes. (If you do All you can also check out the resulting plat maps.) In the search results, the most recent document is R0578, 1940 survey data, approved 1955. If you click on the text R0578 you will have access to the whole document (over 400 individual PDF documents) and can select page 75 which describes the mark you found on the border between section 32 and 33. Pages 63-67 are the intro for that part of the document and includes info on the instruments/techniques used in the survey.

 

If you want to see the actual PLSS grid that these section corners form then you can use this site:

http://www.geocommunicator.gov/blmMap/MapLSIS.jsp

 

As far as nails go, I know PLSS surveyors here seem to use multiple types of nails when making witness marks for PLSS section corners. (The witness marks are used to re-establish the position of the section corner if it goes missing.) I've seen mention of 16d, 60d, and PK Nails. (The 60d and PK Nails were used relatively recently, the 16d I know of were from the 1970s I think.) I also think I've seen 40d nails mentioned, which the nails pictured might be based on length. (40d = 5", 60d = 6") Out here they like to put them in trees or telephone poles, but trees seem to be a bit hard to find near that section corner. :)

Edited by EdrickV

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I surveyed many years for BLM and one of my unusual jobs was doing control for photogrammetric surveys. We would often panel corners within the flight lines so that the maps could be registered to the PLSS easily. The photo panels I would set were 18" wide material in the shape of a cross or Y centered on the point each leg being 15 feet long. I often fastened these to the ground by driving in 60p nails sometimes with various things like milk bottle caps to keep them from tearing through the material. Mine were white plastic but some may have used fabric. After a while weeks they would be torn up by cattle and the wind and the only think left is the nails, probably lasting only a few weeks at best, but serving their purpose once the photo flight lines are done.

 

A 60p mail is about 6 ins. long. First thing I thought of with your post is something relating to photo panels. Photogrammetry has been used on all kinds of projects from locating roads and other improvements. Some of my jobs were in very isolated places. Private surveyors have been doing the same thing for years. I could probably find you a photo of one of my points by way of illustration.

 

- jlwahl

 

We found iron nails firmly stuck in the ground within 40 feet of a GLO cap (MV0327) in the Nevada desert playa.

 

We are very curious as to why these are here???

 

These were not located in any obviously distinguishable pattern and we found 4 or more. They were mostly on one side of the station (they might have been on the other side as well but we did not cross the fence to look).

 

We wonder if these might have been pounded flush with the ground at one time and then maybe the ground receded. In 1950 the mark was 1 inch above ground and now it is 6 inches above ground – maybe the nails are a similar case?

 

The nails are fairly large and have an uncommon taper (then again, maybe the taper is from corrosion.). Picture below.

 

They might not have anything at all to do with the station but there is nothing much else out here.

 

Who knows? Maybe a rancher was out here repairing the fence corner and his tagalong kid was pounding extra nails in the ground to alleviate boredom? :)

 

 

All speculation is appreciated. Heck, if you don’t have any ideas just make something up. I will take whatever I can get. Aliens, Bigfoot, etc.

 

Thanks.

 

 

Close Up:

ac2665b9-3036-4ddf-a3df-71950214f826.jpg

 

One is visible in foreground in the circle:

41bd308f-9443-4fb9-a5c1-974a56c8ddff.jpg

 

Size:

a9560e56-73bf-4a12-a66d-07fac05bde01.jpg

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Darn. I was hoping for an explanation that involved aliens or Bigfoot.

 

However, it seems to me that Bill93 and jwahl have provided a more likely explanation: anchors for photogrammetric targets.

 

PS - Edrick, thanks for the link.

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When we are marking a location where a monument is to be constructed by another party, we set 4 60D nails in a crisscross pattern so that they can build it in the right spot needing nothing more than a string line to know where it should be.

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I think shiners (typically metal disks stamped with a name or number and nailed to a tree or post) are used almost exclusively for reference points, not alternate opinions on where a point should be.

 

Perhaps I used the wrong terminology, but I have definitely seen shiny metal washers held to the ground by nails in an irregular pattern (think shotgun blast) within a few feet of triangulation stations (more than once). My only reasonable explanation for them was a follow-up surveyor's interpretation of 'where it should have been'.

 

I wish I had taken a picture. :(

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---- Is the date on the cap 1950?

 

This UNK MONUMENTED USGLO happens to be stamped '1940'. MEL

 

Edit: Forgot to ask TillaMurphs if they found any hot water in that area. kayakbird

 

Yep - like kayakbird mentioned the date on the cap is 1940 (below).

 

Kayakbird, we did not run across any hot water there.

 

85322aa8-a977-4165-9fe7-0f5fe342a310.jpg

That photo looks more like a pipe bomb than any pcv geocache does! It even has wires attached. Has another branch of government blown it up yet??

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